The growth of higher education delivered within further education colleges was a rational move by universities. Local colleges could provide potential growth without the need for significant capital investment in university estates - risky when catering for students with less proven academic ability. Such growth also had the advantage of supporting these students with further education-trained teachers and smaller group sizes.
Now that the academy is about to shrink, it will be interesting to see what will happen to higher education in further education. When faced with cuts, downsizing and redundancies, why would universities franchise their remaining student places? There is only one answer. Are we facing the extinction of much-vaunted widening participation efforts via further education?
John Curry, City of Bath College.