Chairman of review into post-16 further education in Norfolk and Suffolk announced

Dr Peter Funnell

Dr Peter Funnell - Credit: Archant

A review of post-16 further education in Norfolk and Suffolk will be led by a former president of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Funnell, director of Oakmere Solutions and a member of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's Skills Board, has been appointed to chair the New Anglia Post-16 Area Review Steering Group.

The review will assess local economic and education needs, and the implications for post-16 education and training provision to make sure college education meets the needs of learners and employers.

Last year, five colleges on the east coast of Norfolk and Suffolk took part in a pilot review, which was the first of its kind in England.

Following that process, Great Yarmouth College, Lowestoft College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College launched a consultation on merging, but in May 2016 the sixth form pulled out, and announced it was looking at merging with East Norfolk Sixth Form College, in Gorleston, instead.

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Norfolk and Suffolk are in the fifth wave of areas in England to be reviewed, with the process expected to start next month.

Dr Funnell said: 'The area review process is demanding but it also offers real potential to deliver positive benefits to learners and address existing and future skills shortages.'

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Today, the Department for Education published a letter from outgoing further education commissioner Sir David Collins, dated August 25, which said the final outcomes of the area reviews could include 50 fewer further education colleges than before, and a 'significant proportion' of sixth form colleges becoming academies.

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