Government review could see colleges working more closely

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CLOSER working links between colleges could be on the cards amid a government review.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Department for Education has unveiled plans to review the areas covered by post-16 education providers.

The review is starting in places like Birmingham, but will cover the Portsmouth area at a later date.

Mike Gaston, principal of South Downs College, said: ‘We are awaiting further details in terms of how these area reviews unfold.

‘Area reviews are being carried out between now and 2017 looking at how the post-16 providers best meet the needs of their communities.’

John McDougall, principal of Havant College, said he and Mr Gaston had been in talks about partnership working, but this was a normal process between colleges.

He said: ‘Colleges are being encouraged to talk to each other about areas of collaboration and partnership that might give rise to reduced costs in order to ensure the viability of the institutions.’

He added: ‘There may be opportunities for sharing some back office services.

‘Some colleges have done that successfully.’

But he said the front-line delivery of teaching for students would not change if there was ever to be a closer partnership.

Both principals said there would be no merger between the two colleges.