Like its predecessor, this year will no doubt be full of challenges and opportunities for colleges and sixth forms. 16-19 year-olds remain the worst funded full-time students in England while rapid qualification and assessment reform continues to affect almost every course we offer.
On the positive side, the work of the area reviews is coming to a close and both our membership organisations, AoC and SFCA, have confident new voices to advocate for our sector.
A year ago, I made 4 New Year’s wishes. In this age of austerity it seems appropriate to reduce the number to 3, but also to upgrade the wishes to resolutions because we can all play a part in shaping our future.
So here are my sixth form resolutions for 2017:
This year, let’s…
- …ask ourselves what we mean by an educated adult and try to describe our educational aspirations for all 16-19 year-olds, rather than allowing ourselves to be limited by the ‘skills’ agenda and our students to be characterised as either ‘vocational or ‘academic’.
- …try to find common ground between all 16-19 providers on funding and curriculum issues and make a strong case for the properly resourced, high quality sixth form education that all young people deserve and which is essential to our country’s future.
- …build on the area reviews, working with school sixth forms, local and regional authorities and commissioners to start to plan provision and share good practice across their areas. This could lay the groundwork for a coherent, comprehensive 16-19 system capable of providing every young person in every part of the country with choice and entitlement to a broad and challenging education.
Going beyond (December 2016)
Education: what’s it all for? ( January 2016)
Imagining a better future is the first step (August 2015)
No austerity of the imagination (July 2015)