Post-16 education and training area review anounced for West Yorkshire

Seven general FE colleges and four sixth form colleges (SFCs) will be involved in a post-16 education and training area review for West Yorkshire announced by the government this morning.

It is set to launch on November 16 and West Yorkshire will be the seventh and final English region involved in the first wave of such area reviews, a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesperson said.

It comes after the government announced that 43 general FE colleges and 29 SFCs would be included in reviews for the Tees Valley, Sussex Coast, Solent, Birmingham and Solihull, Greater Manchester, and Sheffield city areas.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said this morning: “We are developing an FE system which creates a productive, innovative and competitive workforce for the 21st century.

“This review will support the hard work of FE teachers and lecturers in the West Yorkshire area, and give local people and businesses a greater say over how and what young people are taught.”

The chair for the West Yorkshire steering group, which will hold its first meeting on Monday November 16, has yet to be announced.

Just like the six area reviews previously announced, West Yorkshire’s will not directly involve any school sixth forms or independent learning providers.

It comes as FE Week has revealed today that London Mayor Boris Johnson will play a leading role in the London area review, details of which are yet to be announced.

There was previous criticism from sector leaders last month over the reviews not directly including school and academy post-16 providers.

They included James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, who told FE Week: “A genuine process of area based reviews would be extremely welcome, as it would scrutinise the performance and viability of all 16 to 19 providers — including school and academy sixth forms.”

There was further criticism, reported in FE Week on October 2, that the steering groups for the area reviews already announced were “unwieldy”, with numbers per group potentially swelling to 45.

Each review will start with an assessment of the economic and educational needs of the area, and the implications for post-16 education and training provision, also including school sixth forms and independent learning providers.

The reviews will then focus on the current structure of FE and SFCs, although a BIS spokesperson has previously told FE Week that “there will be opportunities for other institutions (including schools and independent providers) to opt in to this stage of the analysis”.

The first group of area reviews to be announced, as reported in FE Week on September 8, covered 22 FE colleges and 16 SFCs in Birmingham and Solihull, Greater Manchester, and Sheffield. More reviews, involving 21 FE colleges and 13 SFCs, were announced on September 25 for the Tees Valley, Sussex Coast and Solent regions.

The colleges involved in the latest review are yet to comment.

Here are the colleges involved in the West Yorkshire area review announced by the government:

FE Colleges

Bradford College

Calderdale College

Kirklees College

Leeds City College

Leeds College of Building

Shipley College

Wakefield College

Sixth form colleges

Greenhead College

Huddersfield New College

New College Pontefract

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College

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One comment

  1. Ken Williams

    This will no doubt be an opportunity to restructure the FE provision ultimately driving down wages and terms and conditions for academic/teaching staff and other support staff.

    What will be left may well be employer led organisations. I am not sure how a stable educational system can be run when we have experienced certain companies cancelling programmed courses due to hard times – point in question TATA Steel for instance.

    I see this as a further attack on the fabric of public sector organisation not least the educational well being of the nations adults and young people alike.