FEFC will split failing Sheffield College

July 7, 2000

Britain's biggest further education college is to be split into three, following an investigation into concerns over funding and management.

A review of Sheffield College and further education provision in its area ordered last year by the Further Education Funding Council has recommended that the institution should be "restructured" into three "clearly focused" colleges, each with its own principal and council.

However, it will continue to operate within an overarching corporate framework, with a board and a chief executive.

The recommendations follow a damning FEFC inspection report that concludes that the college is financially weak, that its strategic and operational planning has been inadequate, and that it is failing to meet the educational needs of its community.

The report says management is over-complex, lines of communication are poor and staff are inefficiently deployed.

The FEFC placed Sheffield College on its "worry list" last year after concerns were raised over management and its financial position, and three senior managers left, including Ken Ruddiman, who was its principal.

The review concludes that financial problems are due to poor forecasting, inadequate management information systems, and a heavy reliance on franchising.

The report recommends that two of the three new colleges should be designated sixth-form colleges, and the third a general further and higher education college that caters primarily for adults.

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