New commission launched to create new vision for colleges

An independent commission has been assembled to help set out a vision for colleges across the UK

A new independent commission has been launched to set out a new vision for colleges in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The Independent Commission on the College of the Future will be chaired by Sir Ian Diamond, who led a review which saw the overhaul of Welsh higher education funding and the introduction of maintenance grants to cover costs for full-time and part-time students.

The commission also features prominent names from industry, education, the media and the trade union movement, as well as national and international experts from across the four nations of the UK.

The group believes that colleges have a critical role to play in the way the UK economy is shifting. That is why the commission will be working with partners to answer the question: what does the college of the future look like?

The Independent Commission on the College of the Future is supported by key organisations from across the FE and skills sector, including the Association of Colleges, Colleges Scotland, Colleges Wales, the colleges in Northern Ireland, City & Guilds, the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), Jisc, NCFE, NOCN and Pearson.

The commission will meet five times throughout the year and will be supported by an expert panel who will also feed into the process.

The commission will hold a range of round table and workshop events with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK throughout the year and will hold a number of public events. It will be producing a final report with clear recommendations to be published in spring 2020.

Sir Diamond said: “Colleges are a central part of our education systems right across the UK. But with so many critical challenges facing us, nationally and internationally – from changes in technology, aspirations, jobs and climate, to name just a few – colleges must take an ever more central place in public policy, as they are critically important for people and communities.

“The independent commission brings together a formidable team of experts and leaders to ask the fundamental questions about the role and place of colleges across all four corners of the UK.

“We will be putting forward clear recommendations, as we seek to ensure that colleges are able to play the critical role that they must – so that people have the right opportunities to get on in life, that no community is left behind, and that governments across the UK are able to meet the challenges of the future.”

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