General FE colleges could be allowed to become academies

The TES is reporting that it has seen a leaked document suggesting general FE colleges could be allowed to become academies.

The surprise move has been revealed in a provisional briefing for colleges taking part in the first wave of area reviews.

While the chancellor’s autumn statement revealed that sixth-form colleges would be allowed to convert to academy status, this is the first time the Department for Education has suggested that general FE institutions could also make the transition.

“The department is currently considering whether, exceptionally, applications will be [considered] from GFE colleges whose age range and curriculum offer means that their future and educational provision in the area might be best served by joining the academy sector,” the briefing states…

The briefing is expected to form the basis for more detailed guidance on academy conversion for sixth-form colleges (SFCs), which is expected to be published in late February…

A college looking to become a standalone academy, independent of MATs, would need to be “financially and educationally strong [good or outstanding for both] and will need to set out in detail the range and scale of partnership arrangements between the new 16-19 academy, partner schools and other education providers in the area which will be developed if the proposal were to be approved”…

More (including reaction from the Sixth Form Colleges Association) at: General FE colleges could be allowed to become academies, DfE reveals


What do you make of the suggestion the general FE colleges might be able to convert to academy status, either as stand alone academies or as part of a multi-academy trust?

Please let us have your reactions, insights and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Christians 'must stand up for faith', says chief schools inspector
Gender survey sent out to schools was a "draft" not signed off by Children's Commissioner
Categories: Academies, Further Education and Policy.


  1. There’s a precedent already – the Barnfield Federation, centred on Barnfield College, sponsored several academies and a free school.  But it’s had to be split up following criticism about how it ran its finances.  It claimed £1m for non-existent students, for example, and the outgoing CEO, knighted for services to further education, got a golden handshake which included a non-contractual lump sum.

  2. ‘English further education colleges and sixth form college corporations have been classified to the private sector with effect from 1 April 2012.’ (Office of National Statistics
    So would these FE ‘academies’ be in the private or public sector?  Does anyone know?

Let us know what you think...