Leading skills – policies for strong leadership in Further Education colleges (part 2)


This report from the UK think tank Social Market Foundation argues that a shift in mindset is needed to promote and strengthen leadership in further education colleges.

Reforms to the system are necessary as well as cultural change in the sector and beyond. It develops four central arguments: Further Education (FE) leadership needs to be thought of as a system – and policies are needed at a system level. While FE is not ‘of’ the public sector, this report argues that many of the solutions adopted in the public sector apply also to FE. A wider debate is required in the sector as to whether colleges can work more collectively in the interests of a strong future FE sector. Principals increasingly need to act as local ‘systems’ leaders, seeking to achieve outcomes for their learners and for their local economies by working with and through other partners. There is much excellent activity taking place in the sector – the challenge now is to expand and prioritise investment. For instance, retaining and developing talented mid-career future leaders in the sector must become a (potentially the) core focus of the leadership development strategy. A culture change is needed to help FE become a learning sector: a sector which seeks to understand the underlying causes of failure, and to allow leaders to seek and receive support.

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