A new relationship between universities and further education colleges could grow out of a major review launched by the Learning and Skills Council this week, writes Tony Tysome.
The LSC's Agenda for Change will involve a "radical overhaul" of the further education funding system in a effort to reduce complexity and cut red tape.
Caroline Neville, the LSC's director of learning, will lead part of the review. She said the initiative was an opportunity to cut out administrative obstacles that are hindering closer working between further and higher education institutions and funding bodies. "There is really everything to play for here. What it is really about is minimising the level of complexity and bureaucracy," she said.
The changes that could result from the review could make it easier for students to progress from further into higher education and enable colleges and universities to work together to meet local students' and employers'
Agenda for Change will focus on five key themes that emerged from regional roadshows the LSC held with college principals over the summer to discuss urgent issues facing further education.
The themes include the need for an overhaul of the further education funding system; improving quality; helping colleges meet the needs of employers and the economy; improving efficiency; and radically revising data collection and management systems.