This article enquires about why some countries have specialised their further education provision more than others, focusing on three types of specialisation: by subject, by geographical area and by age group. The article proposes an analytical framework to understand the drivers for further education provider specialisation, based on four variables: inputs to the further education system, regulatory framework, demand and supporting clusters. It then applies this framework to review the experience of Germany, New Zealand and the Netherlands in recent years. Drawing on this review, the last section of the paper provides some lessons for England and issues for further debate. It is concluded that the model proposed helps to explain the evolution of provider specialisation in the countries covered and that the UK's current specialisation profile suggests that greater efforts should be made to increase geographical specialisation, whereas action in stimulating further specialisation by subject and age group should be subject to caveats.