Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service

The importance of sound leadership was highlighted this week by Sir Michael Wilshaw in his first report as Ofsted’s Chief Inspector. He wrote that senior managers and Boards need to have a clear oversight of their organisation’s performance, and against its strategic and business objectives. As one of LSIS’s priorities for the sector this is something we at LSIS are aware of, which is why we are delighted to be at the forefront of the development of the Leadership Exchange.

The Leadership Exchange is being established to ensure that the learning and skills sector has excellent leadership, sound management and strong governance, now and in the future. We have asked LSIS board trustee, Asha Khemka OBE (Principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College) to chair the project board to the development of the new organisation. To ensure this is a sector-led initiative we have secured the commitment of partners; AoC, AELP, NIACE, 157 Group, OFSTED and prominent figures from other organisations, who have formed a project board to support Asha in shaping the initiative.

Right now we can see there are three immediate and real challenges faced by the sector that the the Leadership Exchange will look to address.The first of these is to identify the leadership skills, knowledge and behaviours needed by today’s leaders to support their development and to inspire outstanding leadership of learning within efficient, and commercially sustainable organisations. Secondly, the Leadership Exchange will need to identify and develop a critical mass of leaders to replace those leaving the sector through a co-ordinated and proactive sector-wide approach. The third challenge is the need for the sector to recruit more governors, trustees and non-executive directors with the right knowledge, behaviours and experience to better support organisations.

The Leadership Exchange is due to be fully operational by September 2013. A prospectus which will outline the next phase of the development including the agreed strategic aims and priorities is currently being developed and will be published in the near future. The sector is being encouraged to take this opportunity to help shape this development and to ensure it can deliver real impact from the outset – impact that will be seen and felt by those relying on it for their learning. The Leadership Exchange is an exciting new opportunity to support future leaders and to attract new governors, trustees and non-executive directors. LSIS’s involvement with the Leadership Exchange enables us to further our commitment to ensure excellent leadership, management and governance for the sector.

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Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, which aims to accelerate the drive for excellence in the further education and skills sector

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