Which types of educational establishments within the post-16 sector employ lecturers?

The post-16 sector is generally recognised to be the part of the education system that sits between schools and universities. Probably the most commonly known type of establishment is the General Further Education College (GFE). There are also Sixth Form Colleges, Adult & Community Learning Colleges (ACLs) and privately run specialist training companies otherwise known as Independent Training Providers (ITPs).

The General Further Education College (GFE)

As the name suggests, GFEs offer a wide range of courses and programmes of study to young people from the age of 16 and also to adults (19 years and over). GFEs are usually large organisations with thousands of learners taught on campuses that can be located several miles from each other. They are often located in town centres.

Typically they employ professional people to teach their students many different skills and trades. This employment can be on a part-time or full-time basis. The majority of courses taught in colleges usually range from Entry Level to Level 3 although there may also be courses at levels 4 – 6. The most common qualifications taught in GFEs for 16 – 19 year old students are A Levels, BTEC qualifications and Apprenticeships. Adult learners are more likely to study on NVQs, Access to Higher Education programmes and Apprenticeships. Some colleges are also piloting the new T-Level technical and vocational skills qualifications.

The Sixth Form College

The Sixth Form College may be a stand-alone college or be part of an Academy Trust. These colleges specialise in the delivery of A Level programmes but often also offer BTEC vocational qualifications. They are smaller organisations than GFEs and normally offer a narrower range of vocational programmes alongside A levels. Their students are mainly aged 16-19 years.

The Adult & Community Learning College (ACL)

The ACL as the name suggests has traditionally focused on providing education and training to those aged 19 and over, although this is not entirely the case for every ACL. These colleges are normally a part of the local authority and the staff are employees of the local authority. Every ACL determines the subjects and qualifications that they wish to offer, often as a result of local employment needs. They vary in size from area to area and can have hundreds or thousands of learners, many of whom are part-time.

The Independent Training Provider (ITP)

ITPs are usually privately owned companies that have been set up to train young people and adults in specific subjects and skills often as part of an Apprenticeship programme, but not exclusively. Some ITPs are very large and operate nationally; others are much smaller and only operate across a specific part of the country. Some of the larger ITPs offer a wide range of training programmes whilst smaller ones may well specialise in one niche area only or perhaps a handful of subjects.



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