Current projects

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Past projects

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

Leadership for learning: Ethical practice

The project developed a practical understanding of the behaviours and approaches adopted by ethical leaders in FE.  Case studies were developed based on those leaders who have successfully enacted their ethical values within the institutions they lead. 

How can psychoanalysis and systems theory contribute to leading thinking in FE and skills?

The project ran strategic seminars for senior and middle leaders that focus on systems thinking. The result was a series of think pieces that will showcase new thinking and increase scholarship in the sector around this area of work.

Developing new models of leadership thinking through innovative governance in the FE sector

The project aims to provide a framework for thinking about leadership by leaders in FE, with a primary focus on governance and the role of governors in shaping and delivering the FE mission. Drawing on its 26 members to undertake initial research and carry out strategic seminars in the region on two themes: a) the purposes of governance in an age of freedoms and flexibilities; b) new models of... Read more

Leverage leadership: A new paradigm for further education?

This research project explores whether the remarkable outcomes achieved by ideology of leverage leadership can be applied to the UK further education sector which is driven by student outcomes and performance indicators. In order to achieve this, the research will first critically examine the conceptual and operational notions of leverage leadership prior to looking at its application for the UK... Read more