Middle Managers: Leading from the Middle Programme

Together with FE Associates, the ETF designed ‘the Leading from the Middle’ development programme specifically for sector middle managers who are increasingly vital to the success of Colleges, Independent Training Providers, Sixth-Form Colleges and Adult Community Learning Providers.

Funded by the Department for Education (DfE), this programme aims to improve the professional effectiveness of this important tier of sector leadership. It forms a key part of our national leadership programme, which includes support for Principals and Chief Finance Officers.

View ‘Leading from the Middle’ Programme Brochure

Learning from programme participants is gathered in the Leading from the Middle compendium. The resource 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 – describing the issue faced, the action taken to address it, the impact of the action, and reflecting on that intervention. The publication concludes with a thematically grouped summary of key learnings.

View ‘Leading from the Middle – A Compendium of Leadership Learning’

Delivered by a team of experts from across the sector and beyond and supported with a range of supplementary input from sector experts, the programme will motivate and inspire middle leaders to succeed in their sector careers.

Who is the programme for?

  • Colleagues in middle leadership roles with responsibility and accountability for a functional area or curriculum department and the performance of a team.
  • Colleagues from all parts of the FE and Training sector, including those from colleges, ACL providers and independent training providers.
  • Colleagues with responsibility for curriculum, learning, operations and business support.

We particularly welcome participants that reflect the wider communities we serve as we value diversity and inclusion and are committed to equality of opportunities.

We recognise that the evidence shows that often people from minority groups may feel less confident about putting themselves forward for a programme such as this and we are keen to hear from people with a very wide range of experiences and backgrounds to enrich the discussion and debate.

Key features

The programme features:

  • a number of face-to-face, online or a combination of both, delivery sessions over a period of approximately 10 weeks
  • support from bespoke online content
  • one-to-one mentoring
  • webinars
  • focused learning activity to meet a particular organisational challenge.

The programme’s learning approach is centred around the specific needs of the individual middle leader.

As well as undertaking a range of core learning elements, participants will be able to explore a number of areas appropriate to their key areas of development.

Programme content

Programme content for Leading from the Middle has been developed following research and feedback from sector leaders and middle managers.

With a clear focus on personal and professional effectiveness, coupled with learning that impacts on organisational performance, this programme is suitable for middle leaders and managers across all aspects of an FE and Training organisation.

The programme offers five modules of learning:

  • Module 1: The FE and Skills Business – building strategic awareness
  • Module 2: The Modern FE and Training Leader – What I Need In My Leadership Toolkit
  • Module 3: Leading equality, diversity and inclusion in the FE and Training sector
  • Module 4: Leading quality and the learner experience
  • Module 5: Achieving personal and career success


“The learning experience has been invaluable for me at this stage of my career.”

Jo Maher, Principal and CEO, Loughborough College

To find out more, please contact kruti.buch@etfoundation.co.uk