Further education corporations and sixth-form college corporations: governance guide

Legal and regulatory requirements and recommended practice that apply to further education (FE) and sixth-form college corporations.

Applies to England



This guide summarises the key legal and regulatory requirements that apply to FE corporations and sixth-form college corporations as charities providing education. It also summarises recommended practice.

The guide:

  • is for governors of FE corporations and sixth-form college corporations in England
  • provides essential information for governance professionals
  • will also be useful for:
    • senior college staff
    • auditors
    • college inspectors

It is not intended for:

  • sixth-form academies (see the ‘Governance handbook’ for academies)
  • independent specialist providers
  • independent learning providers
  • designated institutions, though aspects of it may be useful to them

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Published 28 June 2022
Last updated 2312 OctoberFebruary 20232024 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'FE and sixth-form college corporations: governance guide'. Added a link to local skills improvement plans statutory guidance. Made updates to accountability agreements and local needs duty in 'duty to review provision' section. Clarified how often boards must conduct self-assessment in ‘governance reviews’ section. Added resources to ‘Further reading’ section, on positive behaviours and estate management.

  2. Updated the section 'Investments and trading' following new Charity Commission guidance.

  3. Updated ‘FE and sixth-form college corporations: governance guide’. Replaced references to 'funding agreements' with 'accountability agreements'. Amended equality, diversity and inclusion section to clarify Public Sector Equality Duty requirements. Added a link to the Education and Training Foundation's qualifications for governance professionals, in the section on a governance professional’s specific role. Added a link to Department for Education guidance on asset disposals, in the further reading and resources.

  4. Updated 'Executive pay' section to reflect new senior pay controls. Added new section on special educational needs and disabilities to 'Compliance'.

  5. A link to HM Treasury's senior pay guidance has been added to the 'Executive pay' section. A link to the FE governor recruitment service has been added to the 'Recruiting and developing governors' section.

  6. First published.