Role of chairs is critical to making the most of new opportunities for FE

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Together with the whole of the sector, I welcome the recent plans from the education secretary to “supercharge FE” and his hope that it will deliver nothing less than a revolution in technical education in the UK.

This new emphasis on the new funding from the Chancellor is a recognition of the critical importance that FE colleges play in developing the workforce of the future. The UK certainly needs “a home-grown pipeline of skilled individuals, who can design, develop and deliver the sophisticated technology and high-quality products and services which will enable the UK to compete at the highest level.”

Leadership in FE is key to delivering on this revolution but the scale and complexity of challenges that colleges face today are unparalleled since incorporation in 1993. The leadership programmes that ETF is delivering in partnership with Oxford Said Business School are being universally applauded for developing the capabilities we need now and for the future. As colleges move centre stage, so too does governance, and there is a growing understanding that the college board are the custodians of the college strategy and the long-term future of the organisation.

The leadership role of the chair is recognised as being particular critical in ensuring the board is focused the core areas of strategy, oversight and solvency. I’m therefore delighted that the Department for Education is funding the development programme at Oxford Said Business School for College Chairs. In the two cohorts of programme that have run so far, it has become clear that the main benefits are networking and the opportunity to share experiences and learning between Chairs. With the insight offered up from those experienced in working in the education sector, this newsletter is a welcome addition to that learning.

Sir Frank McLoughlin, CBE, ETF - Associate Director, Leadership

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