College support services and policy work face scrutiny in AoC review

15th November 2016 at 16:31
Association of colleges review David Hughes AoC
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, told the organisation's annual conference that it was time to review the way it operates

The Association of Colleges (AoC) will review its purpose as an organisation and its policy priorities, the organisation’s chief executive has said.

Speaking to TES at the AoC annual conference in Birmingham today, David Hughes stressed the organisation was “not broken,” but his appointment, along with changes in the policy and further education landscape, meant this was a good time for a review.

The organisation is to consult member colleges about what policy areas it focusses on, the level of support members want and the future of the association's regional structure.

“It is a good chance to review it, partly because I am new, partly because things have changed, partly because there is a new government – and partly because colleges have shifted as well," he said.

Mr Hughes explained: “Eight years are quite a long time. Eight years ago, AoC would have sent out letters to everyone, there would have been a lot of paper, and there isn’t any more. How does that change the way we operate? Eight years ago, there was regional government, regional assemblies - all sorts of other regional organisations and there aren’t any more. So we have just got to say: ‘What does that mean for us and how can we be as effective as we can going forward’?”

'What is the type of organisation we want?'

The review would focus on three main areas, said Mr Hughes. “One is about policy priorities, like maths and English, apprenticeships, devolution. What are the priorities we should be setting the agenda on? What are the priorities for support colleges want from their membership organisation? And what is the type of organisation we want?”

The AoC will begin a consultation with its members on these issues over the coming days, which will last for a couple of weeks. It will then produce proposals for reform in the new year, which members will be consulted on.

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