From education to employment

DfE needs to build a more trusting partnership with colleges

team with hands in the middle

The Department for Education (DfE) needs to build a more trusting partnership with colleges, AoC’s chief executive has said.

It comes as the department has launched a new consultation looking at funding and accountability reform.

David Hughes, AoC chief executive said:

“The aspirations in this consultation are welcome and evaluating progress through the lens of simplicity, fairness and enabling a longer-term outlook is the right approach to encourage and promote a more trusting partnership between DfE and colleges. 

“I am pleased that the Government recognises inflationary pressures and staff recruitment and retention are a strain for colleges. I wrote to the new Education Secretary yesterday (Wednesday 20 July) urging him to make the case to Treasury colleagues for more funding and flexibilities to boost college pay. 

“While the analysis of the challenge is correct, and highlights the need for reform, we do not believe the progress in this second consultation is ambitious or fast enough. Fundamentally, we want government to show more trust in colleges so that they can get on with meeting the needs of their learners, communities and employers. There is too much bureaucracy because the relationship is low-trust, high compliance and rules-focused. This hampers colleges from doing what is needed and is a barrier to boosting local economies. 

“We will work with the sector to provide a positive, creative and challenging response and we will encourage colleges to digest the consultation over the summer and respond themselves in due course.”

Related Articles