Leading from the Middle – A compendium of leadership learning published

A compendium of learning designed to support the ongoing development and improvement of middle leaders in Further Education has been published by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). The resource, which reflects the experiences of participants who have completed the ETF-commissioned Leading from the Middle programme, can be accessed free of charge on the Leadership Hub microsite.

It looks at more than 30 issues from different contexts – from engaging staff in tech-enabled solutions, to supporting ESOL learners to thrive in the UK, to improving the value and effectiveness of performance management. Each is presented in the same format; the issue is identified, the action taken to address it is described, the impact of the action is assessed, and those behind it reflect on their experience. The publication concludes with a thematically grouped summary of key learnings.

Mark Wright, the ETF’s Director of Design and Development, said:

“As the expert body for professional development and standards in Further Education and Training in England, the ETF offers an extensive programme of support for those in, and aspiring to, leadership roles across the sector. Those many different roles each present their own challenges and this compendium reflects learning from our Leading from the Middle programme. The more-than-30 projects it features offer useful ideas and commentary that middle leaders will be able to relate to and take inspiration from.”

The Leading from the Middle programme is funded by the Department for Education and has been developed and delivered on behalf of the ETF by FE Associates. It develops skills, competencies and leadership confidence through a structured programme of delivery sessions, online learning and individual mentoring. To apply their learning, participants complete a focused learning activity where they identify an organisation challenge and work with their mentor to create solutions to improve organisational performance. Approximately 350 middle leaders have already completed the programme.

Programme graduate and Head of Faculty at Farnborough College of Technology, Mark Treagust, said

“The programme allowed me to develop my understanding and knowledge of the sector as well as to network with other leaders encountering similar experiences to my own. The programme and the learning model filled me with the confidence to further my career in the sector, demonstrating to me that I have the skills needed to progress to more senior roles.”

Matt Atkinson, Managing Director of FE Associates and member of the team that has delivered the programme, said:

“Over the course of the programme we have worked with a huge number of talented middle leaders from across the sector, all with great skills and ideas. We wanted to capture and share the learning that was arising from the programme. This compendium does that, providing tried and tested ideas that can be used by others to tackle areas for improvement in their own organisations.”

The Leading from the Middle programme is part of the ETF’s wider package of support for leadership across the FE and Training sector. That support includes tailored CPD for those in different positions, including CEOs/Principals, Chief Financial Officers and Governors. Details are available on the Leadership Hub.

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