SFCA Member News

SFCA congratulates St John Rigby College for their Ofsted 'Outstanding' grade

23rd March, 2017

The report and Principal's comments can be found here.


 SFCA congratulates Hereford Sixth Form College on becoming the first SFC to academise

 1st March, 2017

Hereford Sixth Form College has today become the first Sixth Form College to join the academy programme. Many others are expected to follow, with 18 of the 90 Sixth Form Colleges in England already at the advanced stage of the conversion process to become a 16-19 academy. More than two thirds of colleges in the sector are actively considering whether to academise. 

The option to become an academy was made available following a campaign by the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA) to remove the imposition of VAT on Sixth Form Colleges. The government refunds the VAT costs of schools and academies, but not Sixth Form Colleges. This leaves the average Sixth Form College £385,914 per year worse off, and amounts to a tax on learning that redirects funding away from the front line education of students. 

After the campaign by SFCA to drop this ‘learning tax’ (supported by a cross-party group of MPs and high profile former students such as the actor Colin Firth, and presenter Dermot O’Leary), the then Chancellor George Osborne announced in the 2015 Spending Review that the government would “allow Sixth Form Colleges to become academies so they no longer have to pay VAT”. 

After almost 18 months of implementation, including a national reorganisation of Post-16 education in England, the first Sixth Form College will finally be able to take advantage of this opportunity on Wednesday. One reason the process has been so protracted is that Sixth Form Colleges are effectively being nationalised – they are currently categorised as private sector institutions by the Office for National Statistics and will joining the public sector when they become academies. 

James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association said: “This marks the beginning of a new chapter in sixth form education in England. By becoming an academy, Sixth Form Colleges like Hereford will be able to forge closer links with local schools and invest more money in the education of their own students. Not all Sixth Form Colleges will become academies but it is right that that they have the option to do so when it is in the best interests of their students”. 

Jonathan Godfrey: Principal of Hereford Sixth Form College said: “We are delighted to become the first Sixth Form College to academise. This will allow us to formalise some of the collaborative work we are involved in with our excellent local 11-16 partner schools, and the VAT refund will enable us to direct additional resources to the education of our students. As the first Sixth Form College to take this step, we have been able to help shape the conversion process and we hope this will benefit other Sixth Form Colleges that become academies in the future”.

The event has received extensive media coverage, including by TES, The Times, and The Hereford Times.