From education to employment

Support from Across Sector on Inclusion Drive in FE

New research is being undertaken by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) into the experiences of lesbian, gay or bisexual (LBG) people in college in order to learn how to be more “gay-friendly”.

The project is being supported by unions Unison and Natfhe (in its new guise as part of the University and College Union [UCU]), the Association of Colleges (AoC), the National Union of Students (NUS), the Association of College Management (ACM) and Stonewall, which are inviting all learner governors, representatives and LBG college staff to discuss problems faced by “out” LGB students and staff, and how to combat homophobia.

CEL Facing the Challenge

The CEL chief executive Lynne Sedgmore said: “It is commonly accepted that 6 per cent of the population is lesbian, gay or bisexual and it is reasonable to suppose that this is reflected in our staff and learner populations. This is, therefore, an issue of relevance to all of us.

“Our research will assist us in identifying and designing supporting activity and materials to help college leaders meet their legal obligations and challenge homophobia wherever it may exist in the sector,” she continued. “We are committed to ensuring that this activity is fully informed by the voices and experiences of LGB staff.”

White Paper on Skils

In March, the Government release a White Paper entitled “Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances”. It was dedicated to promoting greater equality and a more diverse workforce. The White Paper heralds an expansion of CEL’s diversity and equality remit. As such, the CEL has been set the task of introducing mandatory diversity competence to all programmes, with sexual orientation forming part of its equality and diversity agenda.

The CEL will be involved in the introduction of a mandatory principal’s qualification and the development of the quality improvement strategy for further education. The CEL, launched in October 2003 under the Success for All initiative, now operates through a charitable trust formed by its operating company on 1st April 2006. Its remit is to foster and support leadership improvement, reform, transformation, sustainability and quality improvement.

It serves providers within the further education system, including FE colleges, training and work-based learning providers, adult and community providers, offender learning, specialist colleges and voluntary organisations. To date, more than 450 different organisations have engaged with CEL, 150 of them at an organisational level, involving over 10,000 individual participants. No fewer than 13 participants from recent cohorts of CEL’s senior leadership development programme (SLDP) have been promoted to the role of principal.

Paul Keely

Stay here for the latest in FE from FE News!

Related Articles