New commissioner to tackle poor performing colleges

Published on Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:53
Written by Govtoday staff

Dr David Collins CBE will take the new post of Further Education Commissioner, responsible for driving improvement and acting quickly to tackle failing colleges, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock announced today.

The FE commissioner, the former principal of South Cheshire College Group, will play an integral part in the government's plans to create a rigorous and responsive system that delivers the best for learners, employers and the economy.

Dr Collins will advise ministers and the funding agencies on the actions that need to be taken to swiftly tackle poor performance in FE colleges. He will review the position of any college:

  • which has been graded as 'inadequate' by Ofsted
  • fails to meet national minimum standards of performance set by the department
  • receives an inadequate assessment for financial health or management by the Skills Funding Agency

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

"While there is much to praise in the FE sector, we must drive up standards across the board, and particularly focus on colleges that fail. The FE Commissioner will help us to ensure that wherever a college or institution is failing students swift, co-ordinated and decisive intervention action will be taken.

"David's 35 years of experience, including leading an outstanding college, mean that he fully understands the sector and the levels of excellence that can be achieved. I look forward to working with David to reach our shared goal of a further education system that offers rigorous and stretching training while responding to the needs of students, employers and the economy."

Dr David Collins, FE Commissioner said:

"I would hope to bring my extensive experience in the sector to bear in this new post so that problems in colleges and other institutions are swiftly addressed for the benefit of learners, employers and the local community.

"I have worked closely with governors and staff in the past in colleges and institutions that have received a variety of Ofsted grades and have always found a positive response to quality improvement. I am sure that all those involved in this new approach will play their full part in ensuring that, in the interests particularly of learners and stakeholders, difficulties are quickly and effectively resolved and the quality of provision is significantly improved."

The government intends to ensure that anyone choosing to study at a college can benefit from world class education and training. The new FE Commissioner role will ensure that whenever a college or institutions falls short of delivering high quality provision, improvement can be made swiftly so that learners get the education and training that they deserve.

The role of the FE Commissioner is set out in Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills (April 2013). He will provide advice to ministers and the chief executives of the funding agencies on the action necessary to secure swift improvement.

He can call on the support of the FE Advisers, who bring with them a range of skills and expertise in financial recovery, change management and curriculum design.

Source: BIS

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