8 September 2015

The Government has published new guidance on area reviews, and has also announced the first wave of reviews, which will take place in Birmingham and Solihull, Sheffield City Region and Greater Manchester in September.

The guidance urges all further education and sixth form colleges to take part in the reviews, which are expected to be completed by March 2017.

In his foreword, Minister of State for Skills Nick Boles calls for “greater specialisation” and for “fewer, larger, more resilient and efficient colleges”. This will include the creation of a new network of prestigious Institutes of Technology and National Colleges aimed to deliver high standards at levels 3, 4 and 5.

Each area review will start by assessing the economic and educational needs of the area, and will then focus on the current structure of further education and sixth form colleges, with opportunities for other institutions to opt in to this stage of the analysis.

The reviews will be led by steering groups consisting of chairs of governors, local LEPs and local authorities, FE and Sixth Form College Commissioners and Regional Schools Commissioners.

FE Commissioner Dr David Collins will chair the steering groups in Birmingham and Solihull, and Sheffield City Region.

Colleges who will be involved in this area review include Chesterfield College, North Nottinghamshire College, Sheffield College and Doncaster College, who are all members of emfec.

You can read the guidelines on the HM Government website by clicking here.