Responding to the publication of 'The Long-term Implications of Devolution and Localism for FE in England', David Hughes, Chief Executive at the Association of Colleges, said: “The process of the devolution of adult education funding, and potentially education and skills more widely, could bring great benefits. Colleges are vital local institutions for social and economic growth and can use their knowledge, resources and services best when they are given freedom and trusted to deliver.
“What this report shows, though, is that more work is needed to prepare for devolution - both nationally and locally. We must have more details on this nationally to be sure that it is more than simply a delegation of a budget with the same constraints and rules. We also need to see what capacity and capability will be in place across localities to be able to manage the budget.
“Devolution could be a powerful force for good if it brings together colleges, civic leaders and employers in creating a clear and compelling vision for a locality. In turn that would provide a more stable and secure basis for colleges to plan and invest.
“It is vital that colleges remain at the heart of the skills and education agendas.”
Ayub Khan, Chief Executive of the Further Education Trust for Leadership who commissioned the report, said: “FE Colleges need now to think beyond area reviews and what localism and devolution can offer. Above all FE and skills must be bold, creative and self-confident in how it responds. Key to this is the need for the sector to redefine its mission and purpose, in the spirit of collaboration and enterprise, to take full advantage of what devolution can offer.”
*The report was researched by AoC, University of Oxford and the Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisation Performance. It was commissioned by the Further Education Trust for Leadership.