AoC Commissioned Research

This section reports on research commissioned by AoC (either solely or in partnership with other sector organisations).

Enhancing Scholarship in College Higher Education - The Scholarship Project
Project information and related documents

The Area-Based Review in London: Two logics of reform, Initial Report (Year 1)
A three-year research project exploring the implications of area-based reviews on the further education sector in London. The research is undertaken by UCL Institute of Education’s Centre for Post-14 Education and Work in partnership with AoC

Project information on UCL Institute of Education's website

Apprenticeship Standards – Mock End-Point Assessment Project, October 2016
Written by the Association of Colleges as part of the Future Apprenticeships programme

The Long-Term Implications of Devolution and Localism for FE in England, September 2016
AoC worked with Professor Ewart Keep from the University of Oxford on this project, funded by Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), relating to localism/devolution and the impact on the sector. The report examines the shortcomings in the current devolution proposals and highlights the changes needed to make it work well.   

Further project information and related documents

Employer support for Higher Level Skills, July 2016
A research project supported by the Institute of Public Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Association of Colleges, led by Rt. Hon. John Denham, Professorial Research Fellow. The report looks at employer-supported higher level qualifications and rightly identifies the failure of previous governments to learn lessons from repeated attempts to engage employers in skills policy and delivery most effectively.

Understanding Part-time College Higher Education, September 2015
This research has been undertaken by Continuum, University of East London. The report was commissioned by Association of Colleges (AoC) and supported by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). It offers valuable insights into the five year trends in full time as well as part time (HEFCE recognised HE as well as non-prescribed HE), highlights the reasons for decline in part time college HE and sheds lights on the strategies adopted by the college to help address the decline. The report also offers insights into student motivations and experiences of studying college HE. The report will be a valuable resource for all colleges that deliver HE.

The Department for Education budget after 2015, AoC paper May 2015
Colleges educate over 900,000 young people aged 14 to 19 and receive £3.8 billion from DfE. Colleges have a direct interest in contributing to the public debate about future funding for all children and young people. Although AoC considers that more could be done to improve efficiency in the education system, we are also keen that there is an open discussion about the extent to which funding pressures will accelerate post-2015. The purpose of this paper is to open up the debate by considering the various pressures on the DfE budget and the likely changes after 2015. Our focus is mainly on revenue spending rather than capital spending.

AoC press release

What does skills policy look like now the money has run out? (2014)
Professor Ewart Keep, of the University of Oxford, has produced this research paper for the Association of Colleges. It poses questions about what the future might look like for the education and training system as a whole and for FE in particular. It proposes that the policy world and funding regime which colleges have known over the last 20 years or more is rapidly drawing to an end and that a new era of austerity and very sharply reduced public funding is dawning. These developments will have profound long-term implications for colleges and their management teams.

Careers Guidance Guaranteed - Part 2, May 2014
This report has been produced by FreshMinds for AoC. The research – the second stage of the project – aims to identify and promote best practice around careers guidance and place colleges at the heart of career hubs, working alongside employers, schools, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Jobcentre Plus and local councils.

AoC press release

Careers Guidance Guaranteed - Part 1, January 2014
This report has been produced by FreshMinds for AoC. The research – the first stage of the project – aimed to examine children’s career aspirations, who influences their decisions and the careers advice they receive at different key stages of their education.

AoC press release, February 2014

Analysis of 18 Year Olds in FE Colleges - January 2014
(RCU Data Analysis Report)

Report on 24+ Advanced Learner Loans - December 2013
This report gives an initial snapshot of the uptake and impact of 24+ Advanced Learning Loans within the sector in the 2013/14 academic year and the overall impact of loans on recruitment. The report is based on a sample of 241 anonymised Individual Learner Records submitted to the MiDES data server from the 6 December 2013.  MiDES (Market Intelligence Data Exchange Service) is a shared service that has been developed jointly by RCU and the Association of Colleges (AoC). The service started in February 2011 and is available to all AoC member colleges. The idea behind MiDES is simple. Participating colleges upload their learner data to a secure server creating a new MiDES sector-owned shared dataset. This dataset is linked to other information sources such as the Indices of Deprivation.

Working Together, Partnership Working and Co-location of the National Careers (2013)
It is crucial that colleges and the National Careers Service work proactively together to provide careers guidance if we are to help everyone make informed choices on their future. This guide was produced to help facilitate this vital work.

Research on Careers Advice (for Colleges Week 2012)
Research on careers guidance given to young people by school teachers and parents

Career Guidance in Colleges: Increasing National Careers Service co-location with colleges and the role of Colleges in providing a service to schools - A feasibility study, October 2012
The feasibility study was commissioned by Association of Colleges (AoC), with funding from the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), in February 2012. The purpose of the study was to: determine the feasibility of increasing and extending the co-location of the National Careers Service with colleges; explore how increased co-location of National Careers Service provision could provide opportunities for closer working between colleges, schools and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) initiatives; and identify the potential for the development of college-based career hubs.

Local Enterprise Partnerships and Colleges, September 2012
A follow-up to last years research report

Efficiency and Innovation Fund - Shared Services Evaluation Report: The Many Faces of Collaboration - Autumn 2012
The EIF funding was released in two rounds to support 41 shared services projects involving over 200 colleges. Now in Autumn 2012 the AoC have developed an Evaluation Report which looks specifically at the experiences of the 41 EIF projects and provides an insight into project outcomes and impacts, challenges and lessons learnt as well as information on set up and costsassociated with the projects. The report illustrates the variety of projects that were funded from the truly innovative to the simple incremental ideas.
Efficiency and Innovation Fund - Shared Services Evaluation Report: The Many Faces of Collaboration - Autumn 2012

Skills Sector International Activity - a study of current UK engagement research report June 2012
Through PMI2 legacy funding, AoC in partnership with the British Council has commissioned research into the Skills Sector’s international activity. The report attached was launched this week at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College and captures the breadth and depth of the sector’s international work. The research includes data on; the types of international activity colleges and other skills providers are engaged in, key markets, Curriculum focus, models, scale, drivers and constraints. The research will help all providers get a better feel for the sector’s international activity and where they can most effectively focus their overseas work. The research will also provide invaluable market intelligence to help inform our ongoing work with the UK VET International strategy. If you would like further information about the report please contact John Mountford or Marguerite Hogg.

IPPR Rethinking Apprenticeships, November 2011
A collection of research essays on the future of apprenticeships - commissioned by the Association of Colleges and conducted by think-tank IPPR