Whether colleges are already in an area review process or some distance away from it, they are increasingly thinking about how they can prepare for the recommendations of area reviews, how they can shape their own futures, and how they can engage with potential partners.
AoC Governance has produced a, ‘Guide for Governors and Senior Leaders on new structures - collaborations, federations and mergers’, supported by the Education and Training Foundation in response to requests from governors for supportive information on how best to undertake their role in reviews and the pitfalls and benefits of structural change.
The purpose of this guide is to provide practical support for college boards who are considering structural change, either because that is deemed necessary or because they have been prompted to by the area review process. The guide has been based mainly on the experience of several of the National Leaders of Governance (NLG), principals and chairs of merged colleges. We have also built on the lessons learnt in the Higher Education sector and in other countries such as Wales and Scotland.
We hope this paper will be the basis for further discussion and engagement with the sector. It builds on Julian Gravatt of AoC’s Merger Tips paper and takes on board the guidance in the FE Commissioner’s letters and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) documents on area reviews and structure and prospects appraisals. This guide aims to help the sector by setting out the lessons learnt from experience and other documented evidence, and by giving guidance on the processes involved.
We see this guide as a starting point for promoting good practice in the sector. We will revise this guide as more proposals move to implementation.
The following case studies on preparing for an area review and planning a federation were produced as part of the National Leaders of Governance programme.