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The AoC Award for Excellence in Governance Synopses 2023/24

East Kent Colleges Group (EKC Group)

This project is our well-established community focused governance model that has been in operation and refined over a period of four years, including two mergers and acquisitions. Its focus is supporting the Group’s Mission of ‘playing a leading role in developing the economic and social prosperity of the diverse communities we serve.’ This is a deliberate and focused strategy for a large FE group to place what is right for its community before any other driver. A strategic decision, driven by governance to support those with SEND, those in care, unemployed adults and offenders as well as 16-18 year olds with low prior attainment. It also demonstrates a scalable and transferable model of governance that has also been ahead of the national policy curve. Whilst we are aware of other FE Corporations having similar looking Governance structures, we believe we are unique in having such a deep-rooted community leadership model that devolves accountability and responsibility for local education and meeting skills needs from the main Board down to Local College Board level. The fact that it is so well established, transferable and successful means that other colleges will be able to learn from and apply it to their own institutions.

Barnsley College

This bespoke assurance-based model ensures governors are dynamic actors in the work and life of the college, not only monitoring but also driving change and improvement through a system of Deep Dive groups which drill into problems thrown up by data and evidence and suggest solutions to be implemented. The streamlining of formal scrutiny meetings means there is more space for the work of governance, with additional informal creative sessions providing an opportunity to focus on strategy and forward planning. Visibility and transparency have increased and with that has come better accountability and greater trust between the Board and College leaders. This Ofsted Outstanding college has a governance model which enables everyone to come together with professionalism and with passion for the College and the community.

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