Three Lincolnshire colleges have announced collaboration plans following talks between their governing bodies.
Boston College, Grantham College and New College Stamford have agreed a number of areas in which they will work together for the benefit of students and employers. Areas of collaboration include the creation of an apprenticeship company to support the growth of apprenticeships, development of on-line higher level qualifications, joint staff development activities and joint procurement. It is anticipated that this will help the colleges to save money but more importantly it will enable them to better meet the needs of local people.
A spokesperson for the colleges said:
“We are delighted to be able to announce this collaboration between Boston, Grantham and New College Stamford. Colleges play a vital role in the economy, supporting people to gain qualifications and working with local businesses to ensure that skills needs are being met. All our three colleges have long and proud histories and we believe that these developments will help to secure our long-term future and enable us to become even stronger going forward.”
All further education colleges experienced significant funding cuts between 2010 and 2015 as part of the government’s attempts to reduce the deficit by significantly reducing public spending. Government spending on education was protected for those at school up to the age of 16 which placed the burden of cuts in education on those aged over 16 and above which disproportionately affected Further Education Colleges. This has resulted in a 27% real terms reduction in funding and has led to a number of colleges experiencing severe financial difficulties. In July 2015 the Government announced a wave of area reviews of further education colleges which were intended to result in ‘fewer, larger, more resilient and efficient colleges.’ Since that time there have been an increasing number of mergers and collaborations in the sector and this pattern is likely to continue.