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DfE Launch New £14m Package of Support to Strengthen Leadership and Governance in Colleges – Sector Response
February 28, 2020
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Gavin Williamson launches Multi-million-pound fund to boost standards across the FE sector.

  • Almost £14 million package to strengthen leadership and governance in colleges across the country so more people can access high quality education and training.
  • FE leaders and governors to receive bespoke support and training to help them drive up standards.
  • Builds on government’s ambition to transform the FE sector and level up skills and opportunities up and down the country.

A multi-million pound fund to help boost standards of further education across the country has been launched by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today (Thursday 27th February).

Almost £14 million will be invested to help improve leadership and governance across the further education sector so more people receive the best education and training possible. This latest move forms part of the government’s commitment to build the skilled workforce that businesses and the country needs to thrive by unlocking talent and levelling up skills and opportunities.

The investment announced today includes:

  • Up to £4.5 million will be invested in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes to support improved leadership and governance –  developed by The Education and Training Foundation in partnership with the Oxford Said Business School, The Chartered Institute of Accountants in England and Wales and The Association of Colleges. The programme will provide FE leaders and governors with tailored support in a range of areas including strategic planning, finance and working with employers to address local and national skills needs.
  • £200,000 for two Governance pilots – to test new and innovative approaches to boost the skills and improve the governance of college boards to make sure they achieve the best outcomes for students.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:  “Good leadership and governance are vital if we want the further education sector to continue to thrive and grow.

“The FE sector is already doing amazing work to unlock talent and opportunity up and down the country.

“This multi-million pound investment will empower even more FE leaders and governors to drive up standards so more students receive the high quality education and training they deserve.”

Sector Response

Richard Atkins, FE Commissioner said:

“I welcome the launch of this support offer to the governors and leaders of our FE Colleges. In order to be successful, colleges require excellent governance and leadership provided by well trained and well supported Chairs, governors, Principals, Clerks and leaders, so that learners can benefit from enrolling at great colleges. I am delighted that this offer will enable governors and leaders at all levels to access and share high quality training, development and support. 

“The College Collaboration Fund will be key to helping colleges to work together to develop and improve further. This expanded development programme will build upon what we already know works well in the sector. The governance review and recruitment pilots will help college governing bodies to operate, challenge and support as effectively as possible. My team and I see examples of excellent practice during our visits across the country, but we also see examples of where support is needed if standards of governance and leadership are to improve. I am pleased that we will now have this expanded range of development opportunities to offer to colleges where we see this as necessary.”

David Russell, Chief Executive of the Education and Training Foundation said:

“Investing in the leadership of the Further Education and training sector is a vital aspect of the professional development support that helps it thrive. The announcement of these new programmes recognises that leadership comes from a number of places within institutions, from senior leaders to middle managers and from the governors to governance professionals. In doing so, it builds on the successful programmes already developed by the ETF with Department for Education funding in recent years, strengthening leadership capacity across the sector and, ultimately, delivering improved outcomes for learners.”


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