Further education and sixth form colleges

Advising further education and sixth form colleges in a shifting landscape

The FE sector is undergoing the most significant change since 1993. The Education Act 2011 gave FE and sixth form colleges greater freedom over their governance arrangements as well as the ability to dissolve and transfer their assets and liabilities to another body.

Now funding pressures and a skills gap has led to a situation where FE and sixth form colleges in each locality are developing collaboration or merger plans under the Area Review. At the same time it has been announced that sixth form colleges can instead opt to become 16-19 academies. We are also seeing a growing number of special post-16 institutions.

We understand this shifting landscape. In recent years our lawyers have advised several FE colleges on a wide range of matters, including setting up a career college; entering into a joint venture with an academy trust to establish a studio school; setting up a shared services company to carrying on back-office functions; and numerous sub-contracting arrangements with registered training providers for the delivery of SFA-funded provision.

What we do

We provide specialist legal services to FE and sixth form colleges in the following areas:

  • Apprenticeships and vocational training
  • Behaviour and exclusions
  • Charity law and exempt charity status
  • Collaborations and joint ventures
  • Converting from a sixth form college to a 16-19 academy
  • Governance
  • Mergers and dissolutions – type A and B
  • Ofsted inspections
  • Safeguarding and student welfare
  • Shared services
  • Sponsorship of academies, free schools, studio schools and university technical colleges (UTCs)
  • Student complaints
  • Students’ unions

In addition, we have specialist expertise in other areas of law:

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