Current projects

The role of leadership in prioritising and improving the quality of teaching and learning in FE

This project aims to explore the interface between strategic thinking in leadership, its application at an operational level and how this connects to successful outcomes in teaching and learning.

Employers in the driving seat? New thinking for FE leadership

A major new 12 month research project called Employers in the driving seat? New thinking for FE leadership has been launched by AELP – the Association of Employment and Learning Providers supported by FETL, the Further Education Trust for Leadership.

Matt Hamnett & Associates

This project will explore different perspectives on, and approaches to, the transformation of further education institutions – particularly those which require urgent action to address poor performance and other organisational challenges.

Past projects

Recognising Excellent Governance in the Independent Training Provider Sector

This monograph will seek to determine and recognise excellent practice in the ITP sector.

A 21st Century Skills System: a cross-country comparison between Scotland and Northern Ireland

Building upon earlier work looking at the future challenges facing Scotland’s skills system, this project led by IPPR will consider how best to respond to these challenges and a skills system ready for the 21st Century in Northern Ireland and Scotland can be created, delivering innovation in our economy and our society.

Unleashing Leadership: Exploring the hidden assumptions that determine and limit leadership practice to unleash new leadership across the FE System

The key aim of this research is to explore the underlying leadership assumptions, perceptions and aspirations in the FE system. Based on a framework of four discourses of leadership derived from published academic research of Dr Simon Western, it aims to discover the biases and preferences that shape how leadership is thought about, developed and practised in FE. The research findings will be... Read more

Leading innovation in further education and skills

This project looked at innovation in further education, where innovation comes from, and how it can be encouraged.

What next for FE and skills in Scotland

Working with IPPR Scotland, this project consists of a roundtable, symposium and research report bringing together key representatives from within and outwith the skills system in Scotland, key decision makers, employers and students to take stock of the last few years and look ahead to how the skills system can build on its current performance to ensure it is best fulfilling its role, meeting the... Read more

Possibility thinking

Possibility Thinking is a new collection of essays published in collaboration with the RSA. It focuses on three interconnected and overlapping areas of change that will enhance the FE and skills sector’s potential to develop the creative capacities of learners and their communities

10-year scenarios for FE and skills

The purpose of the project is to look beyond the immediate policy and financial challenges in further education and skills and envisage the next 10 years.

Leadership in a world of change: Understandings of, and leadership strategies to deal with, emerging models of ‘localism'.

The over-arching research question for this project is: ‘How and with what consequences, are colleges and other stakeholders responding (strategically and operationally at a range of levels from individual institution to national system) to devolution, localism and attempts to spatially restructure education and training provision against a backdrop of declining central government financial... Read more

New blood: The thinking and approaches of new leaders in the employment and skills market

The project looked to harness the new and fresh leadership styles from new entrants to the FE and Skills sector in order to share these with established leaders and generate new thinking around the leadership of learning. Working with 157 Group it will identify a sample from 100 relevant organisations, carry out interviews, run ‘leadership thinking exchange’ roundtable events, develop... Read more

The changing face of FE leadership in Wales: Meeting the challenges of financial austerity

The research investigated the governance role of college leaders in fostering good practice at a time of financial austerity. It will also investigate governor perceptions of the impact of austerity, the interface between college management and governors in fostering a culture of enterprise and innovation, and develop strategies for governors and principals to enhance their influence more widely... Read more