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Unions welcome move to end college incorporation

26 May 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Speaking from the Wales TUC Annual Congress in Llandudno, education trade unions in Wales have today jointly welcomed an Assembly Government announcement to overhaul the structure of further education colleges in Wales.

UCU, ATL and Unison have welcomed the intention of Leighton Andrews to deliver on the Welsh Labour leadership manifesto commitment made by the First Minister to end the incorporation of further education colleges.

In recently released cabinet papers (from the meeting held on the 15 March 2010) it was revealed that agreement had been reached to establish a small expert group to make recommendations to the minister on how to implement the commitment.

Colleges were removed from the control of local authorities following the Further and Higher Education Act (1992) and established instead as independent incorporated institutions.

Guy Stoate, President of UCU Cymru said: 'This is welcome step forward and shows a strong commitment to ending the now discredited model of college incorporation.  This is an opportunity for the Assembly Government to reshape further education in Wales and to make the sector more accountable.

'Ministers though must hold their nerve and look for radical options that embed the needs of learners as the top priority of colleges and delivers genuine, democratic accountability for the substantial public investment colleges receive each year.'

Dr. Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru said: 'We are very pleased to see such quick progress on this issue. Further Education has a vital role to play in the future of Wales and it's only right and proper that it becomes more accountable to the public who finance it. Totally independent corporations simply don't fit in with the Welsh education agenda which is based on collaboration and cooperation.'

Eddie Gabrielsen, Unison Regional Organiser said: 'UNISON welcomes this announcement as this could strengthen the collaborative delivery of Further Education and partnership working from all stakeholders.'

Notes:

  1. The cabinet paper agreeing to the review (.doc)
  2. Colleges were incorporated under the Further and Higher Education Act (1992). Previously they came under the control of Local Education Authorities.
  3. In his manifesto for the leadership of Welsh Labour, the new First Minister Carwyn Jones pledged: 'Ending incorporation of FE colleges, with reforms to governance structures to give proper representation to staff, students and communities and an all-Wales contract for FE lecturers.'

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