Skip to main content

Our strategic plan

Everything AoC does is aimed at supporting colleges provide the best possible experience and outcomes for students and employers and to fulfil their roles as community assets and anchor institutions. We have five strategic aims, set by the AoC board (made up of members), to guide us:

Strategic aim 1 - Lead thinking and influence policy
AoC has an important role to play in engaging with policy makers and associated stakeholders and in ensuring that colleges’ interests and needs are understood and met wherever possible. We will build on our strong relationships with people and organisations which can help deliver our mission of ultimately securing policy and investment for colleges to thrive.

We will do this by:

  • Utilising the knowledge and experience of our staff, members, strategy group networks and other sector stakeholders in debating, proposing and influencing education and skills policy.
  • Working closely and strategically with a range of government departments and agencies as well as local influencers, including Metro Mayors and devolved structures.
  • Strengthening and aligning our relationships with business organisations, trade unions, education stakeholders, advocacy groups and think tanks to increase our reach and influence.
  • Initiating, informing and responding to policy formulation and its implementation.
  • Building more research, data and insight capability and capacity within the organisation and across the education sector.
  • Ensuring our internal messaging is firm and consistent.

Strategic aim 2 – Build a high profile and strong reputation for colleges
AoC works hard to ensure that the college sector is prominent in the political, media and public policy discourse, that colleges are highly regarded and recognised for the role they play and the potential they can have, provided they receive the right support and investment. We also work with college leaders to play this role themselves, on behalf of their own institutions as well as for the whole sector.

We will do this by:

  • Developing public-facing campaigns which celebrate the sector, its impact and potential. This includes the annual Colleges Week celebrations and #LoveOurColleges, as well as developing additional activities and campaigns as appropriate.
  • Establishing high-profile and diverse voices for the sector – including governors, employers and other key influencers - to raise awareness of colleges’ role and impact and reach new audiences via national and specialist media.
  • Coordinating and leading partnerships across the sector to build a joined-up and strong collective voice.
  • Undertaking targeted, proactive media and social media activity that increases the visibility of the sector and our members
  • Establishing the AoC brand as the voice of the sector through targeting marketing work.
  • Maintaining and promoting high profile award schemes which celebrate the successes of colleges and students.
  • Providing opportunities for members to engage in regional, national and international projects to promote the sector.
  • Building the profile and impact of the College Alliance, as a tool for strengthening partnerships across the UK and Ireland, and with key partner organisations.

Strategic aim 3 - Deliver expert support, advice and intelligence for members

AoC is well placed to deliver support, advice and intelligence to assist college leaders to do the best they can for their students and partners. We will provide support across a range of areas, including governance, funding, accountability, workforce, curriculum, inspection, student experience, mental health and well-being; SEND; equality, equity, diversity and inclusion, media engagement, sustainability and net zero.

We will do this by:

  • Supporting college leadership with timely policy information, advice and intelligence to assist in their strategic planning and operational delivery.
  • Working with expert partners, stakeholders and member colleges to secure and share the best knowledge and practice available to assist in addressing college priorities and concerns, such as staff recruitment and retention, industrial relations and curriculum reform.
  • Facilitating opportunities for members to be able to work together, learn from each other and share best practice through member services, externally funded projects, network groups, Charitable Trust activity and events.
  • Communicating with our members through a range of means, including briefings, webinars, conferences, newsletters and social media.

Strategic aim 4 - Facilitate and deliver opportunities to improve the student experience

AoC plays a central role in identifying key areas of work and investment where colleges can benefit from additional support, guidance, projects and participation opportunities. These areas include sport and physical activity, mental health and well-being, SEND, equality, equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and net zero and student experience.

We will do this by:

  • Identifying areas of activity which colleges could benefit from collectively and where our involvement can facilitate sharing best practice, learning and development.
  • Seeking external funding over and above member fees to support colleges via externally funded projects in areas such as student governor training, enrichment, mental health and wellbeing, sustainability, EDI and sport and physical activity.
  • Developing relevant and member-driven policies to inform campaigning and advocacy.
  • Providing training, workshops, and resources to build the skills needed to foster inclusion.
  • Providing opportunities for networking and collaboration among members to foster inclusivity and creating a safe space for discussions and sharing experiences related to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Strategic aim 5 – Further develop AoC as an inclusive and sustainable organisation able to support and promote colleges effectively

AoC success depends on employing talented people with the skills, experience, knowledge, commitment and capacity to deliver a first-class service to our members. We will continuously develop the organisation to be focused, effective and efficient with a diverse and inclusive working environment where everyone works to our values.

We will do this by:

  • Being accountable to our members and demonstrating strong governance, financial controls, and compliance with our legislative and regulatory obligations.
  • Setting ambitious goals to make further progress in creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation.
  • Developing AoC’s culture and embedding its values in everything it does to create an inclusive workplace where everyone can be themselves, and thrive in an environment that supports staff well-being and development.
  • Being financially sustainable through effective and efficient management and resourcing, as well as working practices.
  • Building and maintaining AoC’s workforce knowledge, skills and professional expertise to deliver effective services and support to colleges, including in a hybrid environment.
  • Being an employer of choice to attract, engage and retain diverse, talented people who share our values and vision.
  • Improving AoC’s environmental performance