Leadership, management and governance will be “a priority” for the FE Guild — but the future training for such skills remains in question.

With the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) to cease operating at the end of the current academic year, the future of senior FE management development programmes has been thrown into doubt.

David Hughes, chair of the guild steering group, said it was “too early to be very specific” about the new organisation’s role.

But he suggested it was unlikely the guild would be a major provider of leadership and management development.

Mr Hughes, also chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, said: “It is a bit too early to say yes or no to this or that programme, but what we can say at this stage is that it’s really very clear that leadership, management and governance are a priority for the guild.”

He added that the two–week consultation on the sector’s expectations of the guild had confirmed how essential leadership, management and good governance were for the health and professionalism of the sector.

However, Mr Hughes said the guild was likely to play a role of guidance rather than provision of training.

“We don’t see the guild as the provider of all leadership and management development in the sector because that doesn’t feel like the right thing to do, or realistic given the amount of money the guild might have available,” he said.

“So the guild might play a role to promote good leadership and management, provide opportunities to discuss what good leadership and management looks like and what good leadership and management development will look like, possibly sign posting providers that do it really well, or providing forums for people to discuss how to improve.”

Mr Hughes pointed out that there were commercial programmes available, such as a level five diploma and an MA in FE sector management provided by the Association of Colleges.

“All the best colleges should, and do, have their own programme for leadership and management, and their own development of good governance.

“What we want to try and do is to provide as much guidance, support and promotion of that as possible,” he said.

However, he agreed with LSIS chair Dame Ruth Silver, who said continuity between the two organisations was vital for the sector.

“We’re very keen to pass on what we’ve learned, and very ambitious for the next phase of the sector and its improvement bodies, its improvement, and hopeful the sector can build on the systems that do well,” she said.

Mr Hughes said: “LSIS has done really good work around leadership, management and governance and what we’re doing is working very carefully with them to ensure we learn from that and try to create continuity where we can in terms of the work they’ve been doing around the sector.”

Caption for featured image: From left: Martin Doel, Peter Davies, David Hughes and Graham Hoyle on the FE Gulld panel at the  Association of Colleges annual conference and exhibition in Birmingham last year