Development Resources for CEOs and Principals

We have created a series of fully funded online CPD resources to support CEOs and Principals across the Further Education and Training sector.

Co-designed with leaders in the sector and funded by the Department for Education, the resources draw on the expertise of respected sector leaders as well as top figures from other fields such as finance.

The aim is to complement the ETF’s strategic leadership programmes by providing practical, technical advice on key issues such as finance and data-driven management, which CEOs and Principals can easily access in the day-to-day working environment.

Key benefits

Those who use the resources benefit from:

  • support with technical issues to complement other sector leadership development programmes
  • opportunity to tap into the latest thinking on key topics, both from within and beyond the sector
  • understanding of important trends in the sector
  • insights into strategy for long term sustainable advantage
  • trustworthy advice from respected peers
  • convenience of online resources to dip into as needed.


Four modules are available:

  • Financial Sustainability
  • Using Data to Drive a Performance Culture
  • Building Your Digital Strategy
  • Risk and Strategic Leadership.

Each module contains a number of topics. Short, pithy sections flow one from another as the topic unfolds, with real-life examples and video input from FE leaders and experts from other sectors to bring ideas to life. Each topic has a summary document for download.


“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 cash flow, 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.”

Clare Russell, CEO and Principal, Runshaw College

“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.”

Sean Mackney, Principal and CEO, Petroc College of Further and Higher Education

“Getting this kind of support helps you to get the fundamentals right in terms of running and sustaining a business and specifically an education business, reliant on external funding. This really is a good introduction for CEOs and Principals and also a good reminder, even if you’ve been in the saddle for a while.”

Sharon Thomas, Principal of the Adult College of Barking and Dagenham

“I think going forward this online approach will be something that certainly myself and others will look at as a much more expedient way to get some really high-quality advice in a short period of time without disrupting whole chunks of a day or a week.”

Dr Tim Whitaker, Principal and CEO, Askham Bryan College

Access the CEOs’ and Principals’ Resources on the Foundation Online Learning platform.

View the video about these resources:

Take a look at our Strategic Leadership Programme for Principals and CEOs.