Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Need a Helping Hand to Get through the Area Reviews?

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Need a Helping Hand to Get through the Area Reviews?

Article excerpt

This is an uncertain period for all in FE, but these tips will help you to understand the impact on your college

The area reviews signal one of the largest upheavals in the further education sector for many years. The process seeks to ensure that the sector has the right capacity to meet the needs of students and employers.

Reviews will also look at the financial health of institutions and their capacity to deliver high-quality education and training. They will be locally steered by a team seeking to establish providers' ability to address the area's educational and economic needs. The government is hoping to identify ways in which the overall number of colleges in the sector could be reduced - potentially paving the way for larger, more resilient and cost-effective institutions that have been streamlined to best meet the needs of students.

Reviews have already been carried out across some colleges, and the chances are that if you work in FE, you will have undergone a review, be in the middle of one or be about to start one. Whatever stage of the process you currently find yourself at, you will recognise that it's a time of both excitement and uncertainty. Periods of change often require a steady nerve and patience to gather all the information while awaiting the outcome. A key thing that will help us, as a sector, to navigate this difficult transition is to make sure that we support each other to understand and appreciate the reasons why it's happening.

The following suggestions may help you to find a way through.

Keep yourself informed

Stay up to speed with what's happening at your own college. Be aware of special meetings in which the principal or chief executive addresses the area review process, and make notes about things such as timelines, local area needs and details of other colleges that may be in the same wave as yours.

Don't fear asking questions

This is a complex and unprecedented process, and many of your colleagues are likely to have similar queries.

Speak to those in the know

Find out who has oversight of the process in your organisation. Your principal, clerk or a member of your governing body may well be a good source of information, as they will have direct involvement in the process. But there may also be other individuals in your institution with delegated responsibility for communicating what's going on. …

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