Time To Change? Tips For College Structure and Prospects Appraisal


How are you adapting your provision and delivery for the future of Further Education and Skills?

New guidance for Further Education college leaders advises on undertaking a Structure and Prospects Appraisal. Published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) this publication follows on from advice to providers in the government New Challenges New Chances document. 

Why Do Colleges Need A Structure And Prospects Appraisal?
The priority for the Further Education and Skills sector is to equip learners with the skills they need to find sustainable work. The purpose of conducting an appraisal is to discover whether your provision is doing this effectively and how to progress in the future.

To quote the document:

Further Education corporations now have a greater freedom from government regulation and central control than ever before.
"With this increased freedom from regulation, colleges also taken on increased responsibility to ensure that their provision meets the needs of their various communities and that major organisational changes are designed to be responsive to learner and employer need.

In the past few years many colleges have altered their delivery models - establishing partnerships with other colleges, universities and LEPs. The continuously evolving state of the sector ensures that it drives towards being “dynamic and responsive” to the needs of its customers.

The appraisals process is broken into 3 steps; triggers, appraisal and action.

Triggers For Change
In considering structural or delivery changes it is important for FE Colleges to prioritise meeting the needs of their learners, employers and the wider community. This is key to succeeding both as educators and as businesses.

A ‘trigger’ to reevaluate your structure could simply be a part of the college’s natural evolution or something more drastic such as poor performance and financial health.

Appraising The Situation
Start with the question: “How can the needs of current and future learners and employers be best met?

Set out your desired outcomes and a vision for the future.

  • What is your mission?
  • What is the focus of provision? (16-18s, Adult Learners etc.)
  • Are there niche areas you could be targeting? (Offender learning, high needs students etc.)
  • What are your success criteria?
  • What are your demographics, local employment patterns and LEP priorities?
  • Who are your competitors and what are their future plans?

Taking Action
It is important to assess changes with regard to the impact on learners, employers and the community as well as on value for money, staff and financial position.

After widely consulting on the proposal and new partners the college should be in a position to make a decision of in and how and changes should be made.

Find out more read the full guidance: Structure and prospects appraisals: further guidance for further education colleges

Have any tips for conducting a College Structure and Prospects Appraisal? Share your advice and experiences in the comments section below.

Tor Macleod 10:48

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