Technical and Further Education Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Catholic Education Service (CES) (TFEB 02)

Technical & Further Education Bill

Executive Summary

· The evidence is being submitted by the Catholic Education Service (CES) on behalf of the 20 Catholic dioceses across England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

· We welcome the Bill and its provisions in relation to Sixth Form Colleges.

· We expect any Education Administrator to work closely with the relevant Catholic diocese in relation to any education administration order made in respect of a Catholic Sixth Form College.


1. There are 15 Catholic Sixth Form Colleges across England and Wales which deliver further education. This is in addition to the sixth forms within our 345 Catholic secondary schools. Currently 27,698 students are educated in our Catholic Sixth Form Colleges.

2. The 15 Catholic Sixth Form Colleges in England and Wales all existed as voluntary aided schools in the maintained school sector before the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act, which transferred them to the Further Education Sector from 1993. They did not thereby become FE corporations, but were incorporated as statutory corporations in 2001. The 14 Catholic Sixth Form Colleges in England subsequently became sixth-form college corporations in 2010. Many have a long history of serving the Catholic community and are derived from earlier institutions. Of these, seven were established before 1900 and the majority prior to the 1944 Education Act that brought the bulk of Church schools into the state-funded sector.

3. There are 22 Catholic dioceses in England and Wales, each led by a diocesan Bishop, who is responsible for ensuring that Catholic schools and Catholic Sixth Form Colleges are conducted in accordance with Catholic Canon Law.  The Diocese is a long-term strategic partner with the State in the provision of schools, and the Bishop’s recognition in numerous Education Acts as the ‘appropriate diocesan authority’ for all Catholic schools and colleges illustrates this. In each diocese the Bishop appoints a Diocesan Schools’ Commissioner to lead the team that supports Catholic schools and colleges. Catholic colleges are run in accordance with the trust deed of their trustees (either the diocese or a religious order). The trust deeds state the legal duties of the dioceses and colleges’ trustees to preserve the Catholic character of the school. This reflects the Church ownership of the college land and buildings.

Education Administrator -Chapter 4

4. Dioceses play a prominent role in ensuring the success and sustainability of a Catholic Sixth Form College and therefore it is unlikely that this legislation will have an impact on our sector. However, if an education administration order were to be made on a Catholic Sixth Form College we would expect that any Education Administrator would work closely with the relevant Catholic diocesan authority and the College’s trustees.

5. The Education Administrator must always be independent and transparent. Given the unique status of Catholic Sixth Form Colleges we would also expect that the Secretary of State to consult with the CES when appointing an Education Administrator to manage the affairs, business and property of one of our Sixth Form Colleges.

6. We hope the Government will provide assurances that any Education Administrator will work closely with the relevant Catholic dioceses in relation to any education administration order made in respect of a Catholic Sixth Form College.

Trust Property – Chapter 5

7. This chapter ensures the correct transfer of the land to the appropriate trustees if a Sixth Form College corporation designated with a religious character is wound up. In the case of a Catholic Sixth Form College this means that any property held by the corporation on trust for the purposes of the college, must be transferred to the trustees of the relevant college and cannot be used to meet the claims of any creditors in the education administration. This reflects the position in the Catholic Sixth Form Colleges’ Trust Deeds.

8. We welcome this provision as a continuation of existing legislation which safeguards Church property.

November 2016


Prepared 22nd November 2016