Not enough 'capacity' to implement Sainsbury review, warns AoC leader

15th September 2016 at 16:25
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, warns that the government will struggle to put its plans to overhaul post-16 education into practice

The government not have the infrastructure or capacity to successfully implement the recommendations of the Sainsbury review, according to the Association of Colleges’ chief executive David Hughes.

Speaking today at Pearson College in London as part of thinktank Policy Exchange’s conference on further and higher education, Mr Hughes (pictured) said he couldn't see how the changes could be introduced when the organisation responsible for many of them – the Institute for Apprenticeships – "doesn't yet exist". He also warned that the practicalities of exiting the European Union could distract the government from implementing the overhaul of post-16 education.

According to the Post-16 Skills Plan published alongside the review of post-16 education, the new Institute for Apprenticeships will see its remit expanded to encompass "all of technical education at levels 2 to 5". It will be responsible for bringing together expert groups to set the content and standards for each of the 15 new progression routes.

Hr Hughes told today's conference: "It’s giving a really big new job to an organisation that doesn’t yet exist…that hasn’t got any staff, and it’s suggesting that’s all going to be set up to run the apprenticeship levy from next April as well as implementation of the Sainsbury review and the skills plan. And it doesn’t exist.

'I don’t think that will work'

"Even when it’s up and running, it’s suggesting it will have 100 people in it – 100 people to do all of that?" he added. "Sorry, I just can’t see it, I don’t think that will work."

Mr Hughes, who this month started his new role at the AoC, also said he had "real worries" about whether there would be sufficient infrastructure to reform post-16 education amid the "sucking out" of officials from other departments to deal with Brexit.

"The timescale seems reasonable at one level, the next two, three, four years," he added. "But there’s a lot of other stuff going on in Whitehall, not least Brexit and all of that sucking out [of the civil service], so there are some real worries about whether there’s enough infrastructure, enough capacity in the system to do this."

FE SPECIAL OFFER: click here to try out a TES Further Education subscription for just £1 for four weeks.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES FE News on Twitter, like us on Facebook and follow us on LinkedIn


Related Content

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today