Professional Standards for Leaders

Leaders

The Professional Standards for Leaders in the Further Education (FE) and Training sector were developed in 2021 using feedback from the sector and informed by research. They are designed to provide guidance for you and your organisation about professional expectations of leadership roles, as well as to help identify where relevant high-quality training is needed to support future and existing leaders.

Leader talking

Professional standards: Leaders

There are four sets of standards which recognise different expectations for different levels of leadership: 

  • Aspiring Leaders 
  • Middle Leaders 
  • Senior Leaders 
  • CEOs/Principals 

The Professional Standards for FE leaders uses a similar structure to the Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in order to highlight the synergies and distinctions between the roles. In addition, we have identified ten core leadership themes which cut across the Professional Standards for aspiring, middle, senior leaders and CEOs/Principals. Irrespective of role, the ten leadership themes explore what joins leaders together and enables them to lead effectively. 

Each set of Professional Standards is built around three core principles: 

The three core principles

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Professional Values and Attributes

Each leadership role has a set of standards designed for the leader to reflect on their professional values and attributes that informs their core leadership values and the important they play in guiding how you make decisions and what actions you take on a daily basis.

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Professional Knowledge and Understanding

Each leadership role has a set of standards designed for the leader to develop deep and critically informed knowledge and understanding in theory and practice to inform their leadership.

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Professional Skills

Each leadership role has a set of standards designed for the leader to develop your expertise and skills to ensure the best outcomes for learners.

The four sets of Professional Standards for Leaders are set out below:

Professional Standards for Aspiring Leaders

The Professional Standards for Aspiring Leaders set out overarching expectations of what could be expected of you during the planning stage of progressing into middle leadership. The Standards are designed to help bridge the gap between professional/teacher/trainer to middle leader and give you an insight into aspects of the role to help inform your decision-making.


Professional Standards for Middle Leaders

The development of Professional Standards for Middle Leaders is designed to move away from generic management standards and towards a contextualised approach to management expectations for the FE and Training sector, drawing on Corbett’s (2020) research on further education middle leadership. The Standards provide FE and training organisations with a structure that can be used to inform recruitment of new middle leaders and the development of existing middle leaders. 


Professional Standards for Senior Leaders

The range of competences required of senior leaders in the FE and Training sector has expanded and is diverse, with new demands such as increasing digitisation and environmental priorities. Whatever your starting point, you will have a developmental journey to undertake which requires you to demonstrate competence across a range of areas. The creation of a clear set of Standards clarifies what could be expected of you and where there may be scope for personal development.  


Professional Standards for CEOs/Principals

The range of competences required of those who sit at the top of FE and Training organisations has also expanded and is wide-ranging. Whether you have moved into a CEO or Principal role from teaching, or from a discipline such as finance or HR, or from leadership in another sector, the creation of a clear set of Professional Standards sets out what could be expected of you and where there could be areas for personal development.