Call to preserve joint school sixth form and FE planning in proposed post compulsory education body

ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, the post compulsory education charity in Wales, has called for school Sixth forms to remain included in the reform of post-16 education as it submits its response to a key Welsh Government consultation. The charity issued its call to ministers in recognition of the role sixth forms play alongside Further Education colleges in Wales in meeting the education needs of individuals and communities.

The organisation, which has worked in the post 16 education sector in Wales for over 20 years, has welcomed the Welsh Government’s consultation as an opportunity to transform post-16 education. However, it has warned that a failure to ensure school sixth forms’ role endangers its continued participation and support of the creation of a proposed Tertiary Education and Research Commission for Wales.

Iestyn Davies CEO of the charity said, “To meet the needs of learners, their communities and employers we need to break down the silos that have existed between some schools, colleges, and universities and enable learners to have a system that supports progression and facilitates better partnerships. By removing school sixth forms from the current arrangements and ignoring their needs under the proposed body, we will not be able to ensure that the proposed reform is genuinely an opportunity to transform life chances through lifelong learning.

In its response the charity sets out how it shares the Cabinet Secretary’s vision for reform which puts the learner at the centre of post compulsory education and training, and is committed to working with Welsh Government to ensure that the education, training and skills needs of Welsh communities are met both now and into the future.

Iestyn Davies continued, “We must refocus on provision and not on providers and the consultation is clearly not a charter to close sixth forms or remove local education authorities, they are both a valued part of the post-16 education offer. We need an inclusive system that shows parity of esteem whatever the provider or educational route taken by the learner.  

“ColegauCymru and its members are genuinely committed to this vision for bringing about a renewed commitment to plan correctly and successfully execute a post-16 education system that will achieve improved results for all. If schools are not included we must seriously consider if this is a truly effective way forward for post-16 education in Wales and whether we are willing to play a role in a selective, part reform of post-16 education.”