Truly comprehensive education on cards

November 29, 2012

The conversion of a higher education corporation into a company and group structure to accommodate overseas campuses and attract private investment does indeed present interesting options for the sector ("Company policy: where Uclan restructure plans lead, post-1992s may follow", News, 22 November).

However, of even more interest would be the establishment of a group structure involving an overarching company that "owns" a range of UK-based educational institutions: for example, a university, one or more further education colleges and a number of schools. This could achieve all the benefits of merger - single governing body, common strategy and planning, unified services for administration and support (library, sport and so on), even a common academic board (ensuring articulation of curricula and rights of progression) - while maintaining individual branding, staff loyalty and local leadership.

When I contemplated such a move at Coventry University about 10 years ago, the major obstacle was how to ensure that public funding from different sources could flow to the overarching company, and how to incorporate a state school in the group. Now that the political climate has changed and new types of school independent of local authority control are being encouraged, perhaps this model of a local, integrated, comprehensive education system could come about?

Mike Goldstein, Former vice-chancellor, Coventry University, Streetly, West Midlands.

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