Under section 28 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (FHEA 1992) the Welsh Ministers have the power to designate, by order, any educational institution that is principally concerned with the provision of full-time education suitable to the requirements of 16 to 18 year olds or the provision of courses of further education.
Historically, the purpose of an institution being designated under section 28 was to ensure it could receive funding from the Further Education Funding Council for Wales. The Council has now been abolished and funding is provided to institutions directly by the Welsh Ministers. However an institution may still be 'designated' meaning it is recognised as being a further education institution without having to be a further education corporation.
To be designated, the institution must fall into one of the categories listed in section 28(2), namely:
- a voluntary aided school,
- an institution which is grant-aided or eligible to receive aid by way of grant, or
- an institution established for the purpose of being principally concerned with the provision of full-time education suitable to the requirements of 16 to 18 year olds or the provision of courses of further education.
Some designated institutions are run by a company and section 31 of FHEA 1992 provides that the articles of association of the company must incorporate the instrument and articles of government of the institution.
Sections 29 to 29B of FHEA 1992 make provision for other types of designated institution. They must also have an instrument and articles of government, the first set of which must be approved by the Welsh Ministers. Following this the institution can amend or replace its instrument and articles of government, provided it meets the requirements set out in Schedule 4 to FHEA 1992.