Further education colleges should be split into three different types of institutions to accommodate different groups of learners, a new report suggests
The report, Further Consideration, published by think tank EDSK, suggests that there should be three types of colleges: community colleges for basic skills courses, community learning and other entry-level programmes, sixth-form colleges for A levels and other classroom-based level 2 and 3 courses, and technology colleges for vocational and technical training including apprenticeships up to levels 4 and 5.
The report published ahead of the upcoming FE White Paper, expected later this year, says that in each area of the country, a new “FE director” should be appointed to “make strategic decisions about which courses are available at each college to reduce duplication as well as promoting specialisation among nearby colleges”.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC) said:
“This is yet another report which reinforces the need for a positive step-change in how the Government relates to, works with and funds colleges. It’s clear now that a new consensus has grown around the need to move on from a competitive environment, just like in the NHS, to a more collaborative one, for the benefit of students, places, and employers…..The need for a national strategy and a more stable funding base echoes what the NAO report said this week and I expect will be a central plank of the forthcoming white paper. Other recommendations raise useful insight and ideas about how policy ambitions can be delivered and add to the discussions we are having with Government as they refine their thinking and ideas.”