The next phase of the Strategic College Improvement Fund has been launched today by the government.
The £15 million fund aims to support struggling colleges to improve. It was launched in June 2018, and it enables colleges in need of support to apply for funding to work with a stronger “partnering” college to tackle the issues they face and improve quality. The list of successful colleges and their partners from the first application round will be published later this month, according to the government.
The government's list of all successful colleges that applied to the pilot for the scheme shows that six colleges benefited from the scheme in phase 1, with a further eight successful in phase 2. The 14 colleges received grants totalling over £2 million.
Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton said colleges were an “extremely important part of our education system”, and were “absolutely central to our technical education reforms”. “They play an essential role in making sure people of all ages and backgrounds have the skills they need to get on in life,” said Ms Milton.
“I’m thrilled to invite even more colleges to apply for funding from the SCIF. By working together with top colleges, they will get the support they need to make sure their learners get the very best education and training. This will mean more opportunities for people right across the country to access high-quality education and training.”
Colleges' 'capacity and capability'
David Corke, director of policy at the Association of Colleges, said the AoC had been working closely with the government on this initiative and it was “now great to see the development of a peer improvement programme from a sector capacity and capability point of view”. “It is important to continue to share best practice and look at ways we can continually drive up quality within the sector.”
Sixth Form Colleges Association chief executive Bill Watkin said: “The Strategic College Improvement Fund has already made a difference to several colleges and the students who attend them, with its focus on identifying where needs are and how those needs can best be met.
“We are delighted that round 2 has been launched and highly recommend that colleges take this opportunity to work with each other to raise, and sustain, standards across the sector.”
Deputy further education commissioner SCIF lead Teresa Kelly said: “Through the SCIF many colleges are now harnessing the best practice that exists within the sector and applying proven best practice in order to improve the quality of their offer and provision.
“The SCIF is enabling colleges to deep-dive into developing and improving practical classroom-based teaching techniques that will improve the student experience and ultimately the overall performance of the sector.”