New area reviews affecting almost 50 colleges across the country are to start in the next three months, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) has confirmed.
The government has announced its second wave of area-based reviews. The six regions affected are: the Marches and Worcestershire, Thames Valley, West of England, Cheshire and Warrington, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, and Surrey.
The reviews will begin early next year. Along with the 50 general FE colleges and 34 sixth-form colleges named in the first wave of seven regions, the second wave brings the total number of providers under review to 84 FE colleges and 48 sixth-form colleges respectively.
Bis has also set out provisional plans for the third, fourth and fifth waves of area reviews, which will begin later in 2016. These cover all of the remaining areas in England with the exception of Greater London, which is expected to be included in the second and third waves.
The five areas named in the third wave, starting in April 2016, are:
- Lancashire (Pennines)
- Liverpool City Region
- North East
- Black Country
The eight areas named in the fourth wave, starting in September 2016, are:
- Leicester and Leicestershire
- South-East Midlands
- York, North Yorkshire and the Humber
- Greater Lincolnshire
- Lancashire (Coastal)
- Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire
The nine areas named in the fifth wave, starting in September 2016, are:
- Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough
- Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
- Norfolk and Suffolk
- Coventry and Warwickshire
The purpose of the area review process is to assess the economic and educational needs of each region. Once an area review is started it will take approximately three to four months to complete, with the government expecting them all to have been completed by March 2017.