About us

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

FETL exists to strengthen the leadership of thinking in and about the further education system. Our activities are guided by our vision of a further education sector that is valued and recognised for its commitment to continual innovation, its long-term thinking and its generous transmission of good practice and fresh ideas.

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 that system is internalised in the life and values of leaders and how it relates to their culture, beliefs, ideas, character and disposition.

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 ideas and 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 in 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: professionals in the FE and skills system; connected and relevant policy-makers; our delivery and planning partners; and our politicians. We do not aim to instruct these individuals and organisations in how to fulfil their responsibilities, or to offer the final word on any issue of policy on which they might be engaged. Our intention, rather, is to stimulate their engagement with new and different ideas, to facilitate conversations and to create spaces in which perspectives can be shared and new thinking fostered. The starting point for all our work is the new thinking and ideas of our colleagues.

FETL is 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. The success of our work can be measured in the enthusiasm of colleagues in taking up the ideas and new thinking we share and in contributing to our work, the willingness of organisations and individuals to enter into collaboration with us, and the reception given to the work we publish and disseminate in the sector, the media and the wider world.