‘Stuart Cutforth, principal and chief executive of Chesterfield College, raised the issue in a speech at the 2016 emfec conference in Nottingham…saying that he expected college numbers to drop to 200.
Mr Cutforth spoke about his experiences of leading Chesterfield College through the first wave of the government’s post-16 education and training area based reviews, at emfec’s ‘Innovation in FE – Embracing Devolution’ conference.
“These are unprecedented times for FE, makes no bones about this, this is real, this is going to happen and we need to embrace it. Whether we like it or not, area based reviews are here to stay.
“We have got radical restructuring brought upon us by political intervention … This is the biggest change for 22 years, it is serious,” he said.
Mr Cutforth observed that since 1993 the FE sector has “lost a third of our colleges”, and said he predicted the number of colleges in England would drop down to 200, possibly by 2017.
“If you sit and wait for the FE commissioner to sort this out, you will lose. Get on with it and find some solutions for yourself,” he advised the emfec conference audience.
He added that merger did not have to be the only option. “I know colleges fear that word. I’ve merged a college, I’ve stopped a college from being merged – I know the difference.
“The merger of my college in City College Birmingham with South Birmingham saved about £200,000 – that’s it, that’s all. That won’t work on its own,” he said.’ – FE Week