What are ‘Area Reviews’?

What are ‘Area Reviews’?

A series six reviews will be made over 72 colleges in order to ‘establish the appropriate set of institutions to offer high quality provision based on the current and future needs of learners and employers within the local area’. The Birmingham review will be followed very quickly by reviews of FE provision nationwide.

What will this mean?

While the final decisions of the first review will be announced early next year, it is expected that we are looking at lots of merging of provision for higher level courses, with potentially courses closing, job losses and loss of places.

What does this mean for Dudley College?

Dudley College is likely to be involved in the 3rd wave of area reviews which will most likely take place after Easter next year. The first wave is currently taking place in Birmingham colleges and the second around Shropshire and Staffordshire. At the very least, this means that we will know the outcome of the first area reviews and how we may (or may not) be affected.

What are UCU concerns over these reviews?

  • the impact upon learners of rationalisation and increased specialisation, particularly with regard to hard-to-reach groups and those in rural communities
  • the impact upon the jobs of teaching staff should rationalisation lead to fewer, larger colleges
  • the predominance of narrow economic needs as the basis for local provision
  • the over-reliance upon apprenticeships as part of the education offer to the local community
  • the failure to include school sixth forms, private training providers, free schools and other institutions within the scope of the review

You will be able to find more detailed information of these reviews here.

Our current priority is raising awareness around this issue to all members of staff and the general public. It is an outrage that such huge decisions are being made in such a short amount of time which could inevitably cause irreparable damage to our sector.

UPDATE: It has been confirmed that Dudley College will be involved in the 3rd wave of area reviews from APRIL 2016

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