We have recently learned that the new regulator for higher education, the Office for Students (OfS) has turned down the College’s registration application after a year-long process.
The OfS assessment is at odds with that of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) who said we met quality standards in 2015, as well as the requirements of a number of other public bodies after rigorous assessment.
With 12,500 students, an annual turnover of £35 million and outstanding financial health, the College has been praised by Ofsted for its outstanding support for students and its outstanding leadership and management. Our HE cohort is around 300 students and only a small proportion is affected by this decision.
As such, the College is challenging the decision.
Principal and CEO Yvonne Kelly comments:
“The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham is one of the most deprived areas in the country. The OfS have failed to consider and appreciate the richness of the College’s offer and outcomes in their decision; further education colleges open up the opportunity to study at a higher level to people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to access higher education.
“The College plays an important role in widening participation and social mobility within our community and we are very proud of it. Removal of our direct HE funding reduces the opportunities for our community and marginalises the people within it.
“Our priority, as ever, is our students and our staff and we will do everything we can to minimise any impact on them arising from the OfS’s decision and will continue to support them and our community in accessing opportunities.”
The College will continue to offer higher education provision up to MBA level in partnership with its university partners.
The College will continue to keep in touch with its HE alumni, many of whom have gone on to achieve great success, and they participate in our annual ‘Inspiration Day’ at the College to talk to our FE students and encourage and inspire them that higher education is something that they absolutely can do, rather than just dream about.