skip to main content

Student intake and progression

Information on nursing and midwifery students is available from the Computerised Training Index system. These individual-level data allow NES to compile a complete history of each student’s education in Scotland. The data are extracted once a year and the following methodologies are applied to analyse training intakes and completion rates.


Intakes are calculated based on the number of "Commence Training" and "Recommence Training" events occurring for relevant courses in a given timescale.

Number of students in training

The number of students in training on a given date in the past is calculated based on an examination of the dates associated with students' training events. For example, a student can Commence Training, Discontinue, Recommence Training, and Complete. If their most recent event prior to a given snapshot date was either Commence Training or Recommence Training, they would be considered "in training" on that date.


For the purposes of measuring completion, students are allocated to a cohort determined by their first episode of pre-registration education, and remain with that cohort regardless of subsequent changes of university, programme type, or field of practice. This approach is based on the "Intention to Treat" methodology used in the analysis of randomised controlled trials and is helpful in analysing the often complex training pathways seen in pre-registration education.

For example, a student who begins their pre-registration education on a 36-month Adult Nursing degree at University A in 2014, is counted in the 2014 cohort (Adult, 36-month, University A) regardless of any subsequent changes to their education, such as discontinuing and restarting at University B in a different field of practice two years later. For this reason, cohort sizes may sometimes be slightly smaller than the number of students who begin a course in a given year, as some students may already have been assigned to an earlier cohort.

When data is extracted each student is allocated to their cohort and assigned a current training state: "Complete" if they have completed a course of pre-registration education; "Active" if their most recent training event was either Commence Training or Recommence Training; and "Inactive" if their most recent training event was Discontinue Training. The most recent cohorts will naturally have a higher percentage of active students as students will not yet have had enough time to complete their studies.