Governors role crucial to stop learners falling through the gaps

2 September 2013

Governors play a crucial role in ensuring local Further Education Colleges are accountable to the communities they serve, according to NIACE. This has been highlighted in its submission to the Governance Development Review work programme – led by the Governors’ Council at the Association of Colleges.

Building on the findings from the Colleges in their Community Inquiry, led by Baroness Sharp, and the Local Growth skills demonstration pilots with councils, NIACE has developed a set of principles for Governors to ensure that there is external challenge in the process of FE Governance.

NIACE believes that Governors should:

  • Understand local data and labour market needs.
  • Review the changing college curriculum in the context of the local data analysis.
  • Analyse provision and ask “who is missing from local learning provision and why?” – to ensure accountability to specific communities and groups.
  • Review discussions of draft college plans with external partners.
  • And ensure college plans are signed off by LEPs.

Penny Lamb, Head of Policy Development at NIACE, said:

“This is a crucial time for Governors to ensure that they are accountable to local communities in a changing learning and skills landscape. They need to look outwards to how the college is seen to be meeting local needs as well as ensuring the quality of learning, assessment and teaching.

“Colleges cannot do this on their own. They need to work with local partners to reconcile supply and demand with the needs of national targets, local employer need and learner needs.

“In our submission, we’ve made a series of recommendations for Government and local agencies to ensure that Governors are supported in this critical role.”