Shelagh Legrave’s term as FE Commissioner has been extended by six months until the end of March, the Department for Education announced today.
The former chief executive of Chichester College Group will serve her new term as FE Commissioner from October 1, 2023 until the end of March 2024.
Legrave has been in the post since October 2021, when she took over from Richard Atkins, following the announcement that she would take up a two-year term earlier that year.
Legrave said: “I am delighted to continue to serve as the Further Education Commissioner and to support all colleges in a sector which changes lives through learning.”
The Department confirmed that Legrave’s salary will remain unchanged for the extended term. She will be remunerated £135,000 per annum and will work up to 4 days per week in the role.
She has published four formal intervention reports on struggling colleges so far in her tenure, as part of her ambition to reduce the number of colleges facing intervention, as told to FE Week.
On taking office, Legrave spoke about wanting to change the perception of the FE Commissioner’s role from one of fear to one of support. In her first interview as Commissioner, she told FE Week “The FE Commissioner is there to support the sector. Yes, it has an intervention role, but support is my focus.”
On her watch, the Commissioner’s team of deputies, advisers and national leaders have prioritised delivering programmes of “active support” including diagnostic visits and health checks, for colleges on request rather than just working with those already in trouble.
Throughout her tenure as FE Commissioner so far, Legrave has commented publicly on the finanicial struggles facing colleges and the risks this poses to delivering the government’s skills agenda.
At the Skills and Education Group’s annual conference this year, Legrave honed in on staff recruitment and retention difficulties, saying “There is a real danger that the sector will not be able to deliver the reforms that the government is looking for in further education because you can’t find the staff to teach the qualifications.
Every college I’ve been to has not been able to honour some qualifications because they can’t find the expertise to teach it.”
And in her latest annual report, Legrave warned colleges not to drop the ball on oversight of subcontracting, cyber-security and long-serving governors getting “too comfortable”.