It is totally unfair and short sighted of the Department for Education to force sixth form colleges in the first round of area reviews to prepare and apply for academy status in just over four weeks, when others in future rounds are likely to get at least a year.

This is all a consequence of Skills Minister Nick Boles’ decision to force through the one time only area reviews under unreasonably tight deadlines.

It is hard to understand why decisions over academisation are being tied to area reviews anyway.

The colleges that don’t need immediate rescuing from financial problems should be allowed to take their time to make reasoned decisions over whether they want to make the switch in the interests of their learners and future.

It’s also one thing to complain off-the-record about the rushed process, but another entirely to have the guts and conviction to break ranks and speak publicly.

So full-credit to Alex Fau-Goodwin for having the courage of his convictions and expressing his views so openly and well.


Nick Linford is editor of FE Week

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  1. Just another example of how not to run a whelk stall.
    The politicians rush to achieve some ill-conceived policy that appears to have been concocted from sound bites scribbled on the back of a napkin, rather than from basic common sense, has over recent years become nothing less than an obscenity. Financial problems didn’t occur overnight, and they won’t be fixed overnight, certainly not by the area reviews which appear to me to be an excuse rather a solution, to enforce mergers, therefore closures overseen and rubber stamped by other committees. More Spanish Inquisition than sir John Harvey Jones (look it up).
    If FE Week care to scroll through 3 years of headlines as I have recently, they could write a book on the ‘now you see it-now you don’t’ statements that have spewed from those dictating the rules. How any learning provider is supposed to put in practice a cohesive strategy to provide quality education to meet the needs of learners, employers and their community and stay afloat, is beyond comprehension.
    I have only been engaged in the FE & Skills sector since 2004 when I discovered that the sector bore no relation to any business model I had ever come across. It hasn’t got a lot better but neither has the political shenanigans with which they have to work.
    The immediate future for the FE & Skills sector in particular, is very bleak for those that matter, the public that are supposed to be serving