Three new colleges have joined the Chartered Institution for Further Education, bring the total membership into double figures for the first time.
The three are WMC – The Camden College, Trafford College, and Burton and South Derbyshire College.
They are all rated either ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by Ofsted.
CIFE was first conceived back in 2012 to get high-achieving FE providers the royal seal of approval.
Almost six years later – and more than two years after it first started accepting paying members – 11 providers have achieved chartered status.
It’s a degree of progress for chief executive Dan Wright, who told FE Week in January that his goal was to make CIFE self-sufficient by 2019.
He said that Trafford College had “clearly demonstrated the maintenance of high-quality standards over a sustained period of time”.
WMC had impressed with “the quality of [its] strategic plan and its strong links with the community it serves”.
Burton and South Derbyshire College was had meanwhile “forged strong relationships across the sector”, and was “highly regarded by students and employers as a model training provider”.
“I am delighted that WMC – The Camden College has achieved the distinction of being the first adult college in London to join the CIFE membership,” said its principal Helen Hammond.
“This supports our ‘outstanding’ grade and recognises our continued efforts to ensure we are a learner-centred college dedicated to widening access to education for all adults across London.
“This supports our ‘outstanding’ grade and recognises our continued efforts to ensure we are a learner-centred college
We look forward to being part of this membership that recognises our commitment for providing high standards and opportunities for lifelong learning.”
Ms Hammond said she hoped to encourage other colleges to join the CIFE “to show their level of excellence in education”.
“We are delighted to have been awarded chartered status,” added the principal of Trafford College, Lesley Davies.
“This accolade distinguishes us as a leading education provider and is a testament to our vision of becoming a career college.
“At the heart of this vision is the dedication of our staff who work tirelessly to provide high-quality teaching and learning for our students so that they achieve their career goals as well as meeting the training needs of local employers.”
Dawn Ward, the principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College, also spoke of her excitement.
“I am delighted that we are now a member of the chartered institution,” she said. “It recognises the broad reach and scope within colleges such as ours and the impact we have on the local economy, how we help individuals develop the skills needed for successful careers and the wide-ranging work we undertake with employers helping them improve productivity by developing the skills of their workforce.
It recognises the broad reach and scope within colleges such as ours and the impact we have on the local economy
“Chartered institutions are also part of the landscape that employers understand, so having one that represents and celebrates further education really emphasises and communicates the valuable and important work done by so many in our sector.”
A Freedom of Information request revealed last month that the CIFE had received more than £1 million in public subsidy, and was still being propped up to the tune of £210,000 a year.
Mr Wright responded to this by saying that his goal was to have 80 members, which would make it “completely free” of government subsidy.
Each prospective member pays a £3,000 fee to have their application assessed – a process that involves a financial assessment as well as evaluation against the institution’s quality criteria – and a further £5,000 a year in membership fees.
All four providers that joined a year or more ago confirmed they had renewed membership. These are Hawk Training, Blackpool and The Fylde College, Bridgwater & Taunton College, and Furness College, Cumbria.
East Riding College, Dudley College, Steadfast Training Ltd, and Skills Group all joined within the last 12 months, so do not need to renew membership.