9 April 1987					Cambridgeshire College
Members of the Governing Body			of Arts and Technology
						East Road
						Cambridge CBl 1PT
Dear Governor,


  1. On 31 March 1987 Cambridgeshire's Education Authority agreed the following resolution:

    "The role of CCAT be changed such that its main purpose would be as a major provider for advanced and mature students, recognising that this will require the transfer of around 1,000 student places out of the College."

  2. On 1 April 1987 the Government published its White Paper "Higher Education: Meeting the Challenge". The Government intends to encourage higher education institutions towards securing such aims as:

  3. To achieve these aims it is intended to take the polytechnics and major colleges out of the control of local authorities by:

  4. The institutions coming under the PCFC will be the polytechnics and those colleges with 55% AFE. Other colleges will continue under local authority control. These local authority colleges will continue to provide sub-degree part-time higher education under funding from local authorities, and they will also be able to engage in contracts with PCFC for other higher education. The PCFC institutions will be able to undertake non-higher education under contractual arrangements with local authorities.

  5. In the White Paper, CCAT is not included within the PCFC arrangements because we have only 45% AFE. In East Anglia only Homerton College and Essex Institute of Higher Education will be PCFC institutions.

  6. It is my view and that of my senior colleagues and Academic Board that it would be essential for CCAT to be included within the PCFC arrangements, if they are to be implemented. This is because:

    1. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia need to retain and develop the provision of higher education which the White Paper aims to encourage;

    2. CCAT has committed itself, now with Local Authority endorsement, to being such a provider;

    3. that provision can only be made by an institution which is included within the PCFC arrangements. Local authority colleges will clearly not have a major part to play in higher education. Apart from part-time sub-degree work, they seem likely to be used to fill gaps, but for how long it is difficult to anticipate.

    4. As corporate institutions the PCFC polytechnics and colleges will be set up in such a way as to achieve the aims of the White Paper. They will have the appropriate constitution and governing body, and they will develop the appropriate systems. Local authority colleges will continue to have schemes of government and management systems which continue to be related to local authority requirements.

    5. While CCAT is emphasising its local and regional role, and is indeed committed to its development, the strength of provision in that direction, as with all PCFC institutions, will be related to its having in addition a national role. Local authority colleges will not have this national role in higher education.

  7. On 7 April 1987 the National Advisory Body Committee endorsed and arranged for the early publication of a Report on Good Management Practice. While that report has much to say about internal management of institutions, most attention is understandably focussed on its recommendation that polytechnics and major colleges should be given corporate status, with local authorities taking on a strategic role. Thus, polytechnics and major colleges would be funded by NAB through local authorities, which would be involved in negotiating the statement of aims of the individual institutions, and in the national planning activities at the NAB, and empowered to appoint up to one third of the membership of governing Bodies. The polytechnics and major colleges would employ their own staff, own or lease their own buildings and be responsible for all activities carried out in their name.

  8. It should be noted that the two approaches, that of the White Paper and that of the NAB Report, share in common the granting of corporate status to major colleges, and that is something which we at CCAT must now expect.

  9. Whether the White Paper will be implemented will depend on the outcome of the General Election. If the present Government is returned, it is expected that the necessary legislation will be passed by December 1987. It is therefore important, in my view, to register our wish to be included among the PCFC institutions if they are to be set up, to enlist support in all quarters for that position, and to begin work on a contingency basis with the Local Authority to plan the best way to achieve it.

  10. In the meantime we are of course continuing as a local authority college, funded for our higher education by the NAB, and doing the best job we can for our students and other clients within these arrangements.

  11. It may be that Governors will wish to meet together to consider this whole range of issues. In any case, and in the meantime, I should be grateful to have some response From you, however brief, by telephone message if you wish, to the thrust of this letter.

Best wishes,
Yours sincerely,


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