The first Sixth Form College opened in Luton in 1966 and today there are 93 official or ‘designated’ Sixth Form Colleges across England. When Sixth Form Colleges became independent corporations in 1993, they wanted to preserve the benefits of national collective bargaining with trade unions representing teaching and support staff. The Sixth Form Colleges’ Employers’ Forum developed with the unions model contracts and pay and conditions documents for colleges to adopt.
The Forum steadily developed from that core function. At the SFCF’s inception, its membership formed part of the larger Further Education sector, but Sixth Form Colleges required a distinct voice to represent and advocate the specific arguments and issues revolving around dedicated, stand-alone 16-19 institutions. With the passing of the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act in 2009, Sixth Form Colleges emerged as distinct and unique sector. So the Forum (renamed the Sixth Form Colleges Association in 2013) now meets regularly with politicians, government officials and the media to explain the challenges facing Sixth Form Colleges and to press for greater investment in the sector.