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First sixth-form colleges will switch to academies 'by early 2017'

SFCA says the first sixth-form colleges are just months away from converting to academy status

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SFCA says the first sixth-form colleges are just months away from converting to academy status

The first sixth-form colleges to convert to become academies will do so by early next year, according to the Sixth-Form Colleges' Association (SFCA).

Priestley College in Warrington has published a formal notice of its proposal and the consultation process. But TES understands that Hereford Sixth-Form College currently looks likely to be the first sixth-form college to convert. 

'A renationalisation of colleges'

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the SFCA, said that the Herefordshire college was “furthest down the line” and could “go early next year". However, Mr Kewin warned that the process was “entirely new” and the complex process was in essence "a renationalisation of colleges".

“The college that is furthest down the line is Hereford Sixth-Form College because it has gone public, done a consultation [and] could go early next year,” he said.

Dr Jonathan Godfrey, principal of Hereford Sixth-Form College, said: "We have been informed that the West Midlands regional schools commissioner’s headteacher advisory board [supports] our application to become a single academy trust. The [Department for Education] will now review the application. We hope to have approval before Christmas and we aim to complete by January next year.”

New College Pontefract also previously said that it hoped to convert to academy status in January.

A key benefit for sixth-form colleges undergoing academy conversion is that they would be eligible for a refund of their VAT costs, which currently stand at an average of £317,000 per year.

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