From education to employment

New online resources to support CEOs and Principals in challenging times


The Education and Training Foundation (@E_T_Foundation) has today released two new modules as part of a series of online development resources for CEOs and Principals across the Further Education (FE) sector. The new modules focus on ‘Building Your Digital Strategy’ and ‘Risk and Strategic Leadership’ and feature insights from senior leaders in the sector as well as leaders from other fields.

Funded by the Department for Education, the series of CEOs and Principals Development Resources was launched by the ETF in spring last year. The aim of the resources is to provide senior FE leaders with flexible CPD support as and when needed, offering practical and technical guidance on key issues such as finance, data and risk management.

‘Building Your Digital Strategy’ looks at lessons learnt from increased reliance on technology during the Covid-19 pandemic and how to take those lessons forward. The module explores how to make best use of technology, build partnerships and plan for digital strategies, covering the core business of learning as well as business systems, investment and infrastructure. Senior leaders who contribute include:

  • John Laramy CBE, Principal and Chief Executive, Exeter College
  • Jo Maher, Principal and CEO, Loughborough College
  • Dr Julie Mills OBE, Group Principal and CEO, Milton Keynes College
  • Dr Nikos Savvas, Principal and Chief Executive, West Suffolk College Group.

Experts from beyond the FE sector include:

  • Mandy Griffin, Managing Director of Digital Health at The Health Informatics Service (THIS) for Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust
  • Rashik Parmar MBE, IBM Fellow and Vice President Technology EMEA.

The module on ‘Risk and Strategic Leadership’ looks at best practice from across the sector in managing risk to support future development and sustainability, whilst still enabling the agility to seize on opportunities as they arise and also manage unexpected challenges such as those thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic. The contents are built around interviews with:

  • Andy Cole, Principal and Chief Executive, Gateshead College
  • John Laramy CBE, Principal and Chief Executive, Exeter College
  • Lee Probert, Chief Executive and Principal, York College
  • Karen Spencer MBE, Principal and Chief Executive, Harlow College.

There are also key insights from auditors RSM:

  • Stephanie Mason, Partner, Head of Further Education, Skills and Academies, RSM UK
  • Louise Tweedie, Partner, RSM UK.

The modules join two existing modules in the series on ‘Financial Sustainability’ and ‘Using Data to Drive a Performance Culture’ which have already drawn positive feedback from College Principals and CEOs. Clare Russell, Principal and CEO of Runshaw College, said:

“The Financial Sustainability module is an extremely well-crafted and accessible training package. It seamlessly integrates financial planning with strategic planning, highlighting the importance of cashflow, the risk register and governance oversight. The practical, human input via videos from current principals and finance directors is engaging and useful. I immediately put my learning to work in the development of my college’s strategic plan and curriculum planning process.”

Commenting more broadly, Sean Mackney, Principal and CEO of Petroc College of Further and Higher Education, said:

“I think these resources are complementary to more theoretical frameworks. They focus on information and advice from existing Principals and CEOs, which is useful in terms of what to look out for. They condense the key messages nicely and they’re very accessible. They work well as an accompaniment to other leadership programmes.”

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