Summary of Consultation

A copy of the Summary of Consultation can be downloaded here.

Summary of Consultation

We are pleased to publish the results of our public consultation, which has been compiled in respect to our application to dissolve the Corporation of New College and transfer the property, rights, assets and liabilities to a multi-academy trust.
The report covers the public consultation which took place between 15th July 2016 and 30th September 2016, as a response to the statutory requirement, and sets out the audience activities undertaken and the responses received.
The consultation has played an important part in shaping our plans. The majority of the respondents support the establishment of our new multi-academy trust, and we are pleased to act on their recommendations.

The Proposal

We have proposed to dissolve the Corporation of New College Pontefract and transfer the property, rights, assets and liabilities of the Corporation to a multi-academy trust called New Collaborative Learning Trust, in order to operate the College as a 16-19 academy to be called New College Pontefract (16-19 academy).

New Collaborative Learning Trust was established by New College Pontefract to support the creation of New College Doncaster and New College Bradford, 16-19 academies approved by the DfE under the free schools programme. Our proposal is therefore for all three colleges to sit alongside one another within one trust.

The consultation

The Corporation of New College Pontefract carried out a public consultation on the proposal which started on 15th July 2016 and ended on 30th September 2016.

The consultation was a comprehensive, open and transparent process and consisted of:

• a consultation document providing details about the formal proposal
including the reasons for the proposal, the impact on the educational provision and the implications for staff, together with details about the consultation process and how to respond, was distributed to key stakeholders including but not limited to:
 – students and parents/carers;
 – the Leader of the Council, the CEO and Director of Children’s Services at Wakefield Council;
the Secretary of State for Education and the CEO of the SFA and EFA;
 – affected MPs;
 – local schools and colleges;

• a statutory notice in The Times and the Pontefract and Castleford Express regarding the College’s proposal;

• the College hosting a public consultation meeting on Monday 19 September at 6.30pm in the John Godber Theatre, New College Pontefract;

• students were also consulted including notification of the proposal and consultation via Moodle and the common room, a letter via tutorials, meeting with the student executive and lunchtime meetings where the proposal was discussed;

• staff were also informed via letters and were consulted through a series of meetings with middle and senior management.

The consultation asked two questions:

1. Do you support the proposal?

2. Do you have any additional comments, questions or suggestions that you would like us to consider and respond to?

Summary of responses

We received two written responses. One was from Alan Warboys, Principal, Ossett Academy & Sixth Form College. The second was from John Wilson, Corporate Director, Children and Young People Services, Wakefield Council. Both of these responded positively, with Alan Warboys describing the process as “a natural step forward”.

Staff responses were primarily of a practical nature concerning the process of academisation and the impact on pay, conditions and holidays.

We are grateful for the feedback provided on our proposal and set out below the key themes that emerged from the formal responses together with the feedback provided throughout the consultation.

Key themes which emerged included:

• the importance of being in a position to take greater control of our own destiny as an institution;
• the economies of scale, specifically with reference to the management of shared services such as IT, HR and finance;
• the benefits of having New College Pontefract within the same legal entity as New College Doncaster and New College Bradford, once these come to pass;
• the advantages for staff who will be able to find a satisfactory route through career progression within the post-16 sector more easily, once the three colleges belong to the same trust.

It should also be noted that at the time the public consultation was carried out student numbers provided were the best estimate of those that would be on roll at the time the proposal could be implemented. Now that the College has completed the enrolment process for the current academic year the total number of students at the College are 2300, all of which are full time.

Correction

Following completion of the public consultation the College become aware that the statutory notice had included a reference to the incorrect statutory instrument (it should have referred to the Sixth Form College Corporations (Publication of Proposals)(England)Regulations 2012 No. 1158 and instead referred to the Further Education Corporations (Publication of Proposals) (England) (Regulations 2012 No 1157)). The incorrect reference made no material difference to the content of the notice, and accordingly, through notification here and through the use of the slip rule, the College intends to correct the reference retrospectively.

Our conclusion

The Governors have considered the consultation responses outlined above and have concluded that the proposal is the best way to provide a long term sustainable, high quality and relevant curriculum offer to our students. In particular, the Governors see the following clear benefits of the proposal:

• it creates opportunities to improve the recruitment, development and retention of talented staff;

• it supports the sharing of best practice between colleges, which promotes collaboration and which ensures consistency in quality and standards;

• it supports effective leadership and management both across and within the colleges;

• it enables the sharing of resources, systems and functions, such as finance, HR and management information, ensuring quality and improved value for money across the colleges within the trust;

• it ensures an alignment of New College Pontefract with government priorities, broadening the opportunities to engage with the wider educational system.

Summary and next steps

The Corporation of New College Pontefract has taken account of the views and concerns raised by our students, parents, staff and community. We have also taken account of our discussions with other colleges and the information provided during the West Yorkshire Area Review process.

We have concluded that it would be in the best interests of New College Pontefract and the local community to proceed with the proposal to dissolve the Corporation of New College Pontefract and transfer the property, rights, assets and liabilities of the Corporation to the multi-academy trust called New Collaborative Learning Trust in order to operate the College as a 16-19 academy to be called New College Pontefract (16-19 academy).

The nature of the proposal requires New College Pontefract to open as a 16-19 academy and therefore there is an academisation process (the process through which a sixth-form college will become an academy) which is operated by the Department for Education. Subject to successfully satisfying the Department for Education’s requirements, the Corporation would be dissolved and its assets and liabilities would be transferred to New Collaborative Learning Trust.