Tuesday 15-12-2015 - 10:16
SU officers and student governors have responded to the area review process involving colleges in Greater Manchester and the Sheffield City Region.
Principals, chairs of governors, local authorities and employers from Greater Manchester and the Sheffield City Region will meet on 16 and 17 December respectively as they push forward plans to create “fewer, larger, more efficient and resilient colleges”.
Reports setting out learners’ expectations of education from 16 colleges under review will be presented to the two area review boards, reminding decision makers to put the interests of their learners first when deciding the future of their education.
Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President (Further Education) has fought for learner voice to be formally recognised in the area review process. She said: “The guidance for reviews sets out the importance of fully understanding and taking account of the views of learners. Without student representation on the review boards, NUS has made sure that unions and learner reps have their say and make sure decisions are made that secure the best deal for learners.”
Quality, access, voice and outcomes
Each report sets out learners’ expectations across 4 key areas of their education, gathered through student roundtables and an online survey of reps and student governors. Learners’ views on the quality of teaching and learning, how accessible education is as well as how they expect learner voice to play a part in newly merged colleges and learners’ expected outcomes will all be presented.
Amy Rydelewski from Rotherham College highlighted that learners expect to have teachers who are qualified to teach and have experience in their field. "We value industry expertise delivered by teachers who know how we learn best," she said.
Expectations on travel and access are also key priority for students. Dan Loftus from Stockport College wants the review board to understand that “caring needs and other responsibilities of FE students and the resulting increase in travel required to access education could mean that it becomes impossible for some to access education of any type.”
Reviews across England
NUS is continuing to work with unions and colleges across England to collate and present the views of learners to each area under review. Shakira added: “With seven reviews underway and six further areas set to begin in the new-year, we need our members to make sure they take part in student roundtables and make the case to their principals, governors, local authorities and MPs.”
“Area reviews represent the biggest shake-up of Further Education in over 20 years and we must make sure that learners are being heard and we continue to keep FE for everyone.”
Read the reports from Greater Manchester and Sheffield:
Greater Manchester Area Review learner Voice Report
Sheffield City Region Area Review Learner Voice Report
For NUS guidance on Area Reviews, click here