To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what methodology was used to calculate the number of full-time equivalent students studying in (a) sixth form colleges and (b) further education colleges in each year since 1997. 
[holding answer 12 May 2003]: The latest published figures on full-time equivalent students are contained within the Departmental Annual Report (DAR) 2003, published on Wednesday 14 May 2003.The methodology for calculating full-time equivalent students is the same for both sixth form colleges and further education colleges and has remained unchanged since 1997.The Individualised Student Record (ISR), and now the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), contains information on each student's 'guided learning hours' depending on the number and type of qualifications they are studying for in the further education sector. Guided learning hours are described as 'all times when a member of staff is present to give specific guidance towards the qualification or module being studied on a programme'.Students with total guided learning hours of 450 or more are classified as one full-time equivalent. Students with less than 450 guided learning hours are counted as a fraction of one full-time equivalent student. This fraction is calculated by dividing the student's guided learning hours by the median guided learning hours for students with a total of 450 or more guided learning hours. The median for students with a total of 450 or more guided learning hours is re-calculated each year.