About us

For too long, further education has been under-researched, under-conceptualised, under-theorised and under-understood. The Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) intends to change this.

FETL exists to strengthen the leadership of thinking in and about the further education system. All our work is located in at least one of two domains: the leader in the system, by which we mean the place of leaders and leadership in the wider educational ecology; and the system in the leader, our shorthand for how the values of leaders, their culture, beliefs, ideas, character and disposition influence their own thinking and approaches in performing their role.

All of FETL’s commissioned work and grant-funded projects, our written and digital communications, aim to foster a future-focused understanding in one or both of these domains. We provide funding and other development opportunities for colleagues to turn their preoccupations into research-based provocations for change. This work contributes to developing the evidence, thinking and options the sector will need as it leads and adapts to its role to a changing world. It is also the basis for the new work commissioned by FETL’s Board. We create space for further learning, for opening new areas for exploration and collaboration. In this way, we hope to engender the next stage of knowledge-enriched leadership, characterised by autonomy, foresight, creativity and independence.

Find out more about FETL from Dame Ruth Silver and Ricky McMenemy

FETL-funded outcomes and findings address four key audiences: the professionals in the FE and skills system, connected and relevant policy-makers, our delivery and planning partners, and our politicians. However, the way in which we relate to those audiences is crucially different to the way in which other organisations in the field operate. We do not aim to provide immediate solutions or to offer the final word on any question of policy or practice. Our aim, rather, is to engender conversations; bringing new ideas to old themes –  and vice versa – and creating spaces in which people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives can meet, exchange and think together.

We are committed to considering further education and skills through a longer lens; and in looking elsewhere and everywhere in devising fitting scripts for the future, crossing the lines between disciplines and political persuasions in search of joint purpose. Our work will have been a success when the ideas and perspectives are widely shared and find their way into strategic conversations in staff rooms, in board meetings and in Whitehall, informing debate, stimulating new thinking and sharpening the appetite of leaders to engage proactively with the challenges of the future.