May 2016
Spring 2016 ELMAG Leaders and Managers Survey


2016 ELMAG Leaders and Managers Survey

In March-April 2016, at The Foundation we invited leaders and managers, and those seeking to hold such roles, to tell us what they believed to be the key pressures and challenges facing them personally and their organisations. The responses are now helping us to design our future support and development programmes for the sector’s leaders and aspiring leaders.

We received ninety responses, the majority (88%) being from those currently acting in

senior/management roles.

All parts of the sector were represented by respondents, but nearly half (42%) were from General FE Colleges, followed by Independent Training Providers (26%), Adult and Community Learning (19%), Third sector (9%) and Specialist Colleges (8%).

Of all the current pressures that we asked respondents to rate for significance, “Increased financial Strain” is clearly top of their list, followed closely by Apprenticeships (both employer engagement and growth and quality issues) and Area Reviews.

Many respondents took up the opportunity to comment on other pressures, in addition to those we asked them to rate. It is clear that the following are also top of mind for the sector’s leaders and managers:

  • delivering English and maths;

  • attracting, retaining and

    motivating staff, and especially for English and maths;

  • managing the change from

    Apprenticeship frameworks to trailblazers, and the levy;

  • relationships with LEPs.

There were also a small number of respondents commenting on:

  • the difficulty of finding time and resources for staff development;

  • learning technology challenges - lack of digital skills/ lack of time, investment and support and for staff to effectively leverage technology in learning;

  • fragmentation of, and competition from, the schools sector.

Importantly for the Foundation and its remit for supporting the sector’s workforce, a third of respondents (34%) told us that they had not previously had any professional development that would help them deal with the personal and organisational challenges they now faced.

The two thirds who had received such professional development told us that it included:

  • ILM or CIPD qualifications;

  • LSIS/ETF programmes;

  • AOC Senior Development Programme;

  • MBAs;

  • Ashridge courses;

  • Training and consultancy organised by their organisation.

Also significant for The Foundation is that two thirds (64%) of respondents had not yet used any of the resources or courses available on our ELMAG (Excellence in Leadership, Management and Governance) website

When asked what support they would like to have in the future, a number of respondents focused on change management and performance management.

Future support from The Foundation should include more webinars, more networking and collaboratively based opportunities, support for peer working groups and Aspiring Principals.

So there are clear messages for us here to review how we design and promote our support programmes and dedicated web-based resources to the sector’s leaders and managers.

Finally we want to thank all of you in the sector who took the time to respond our survey; your feedback is valuable and will soon be reflected in our future programmes and services.

If you would like to discuss leadership and governance support please contact Maureen Boston or Mike Harwood, Programme Managers for Leadership and Governance.

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