Governors of further education (FE) colleges across England are being recruited by Peridot Partners as part of the Department for Education’s ‘FE Governor Recruitment Pilot’. The Pilot aims to support colleges facing particular challenges around finance, quality and governance. Around 30 Governors and 10 Chairs will be recruited throughout the duration of this pilot, up until April 2021.
Two hundred and forty four colleges in England educate and train over 2 million people each year. There are several types of college which provide courses and training to people aged 14 and above. These are:
The Further Education sector caters for every age and ability and is truly inclusive and accessible to all. Over the past several years, the sector has changed because of mergers resulting from financial challenges and a requirement to improve the quality of education and training.
Many colleges will provide learning opportunities for children aged 14-16, for those aged 16-18 and adults aged 19+. There are a range of other opportunities for those who prefer to learn whilst they work – through apprenticeships, work-based learning qualifications and supported internships. Many colleges have strong links with universities and offer higher education qualifications and degrees, with some having their own degree awarding powers.
Though colleges differ in size, shape and location, they all have the fundamental ambition to provide life enhancing opportunities for their students. They work closely will employers, local authorities and enterprise partnerships to design a curriculum offer which is attractive to prospective students and enhances the economic productivity of the region(s) in which the college is situated.
The CEO or Principal of each college reports to a non-executive board through the Chair. These non-executive boards are sometimes referred to as the ‘Board of Governors’ or ‘Corporation Board’ and are made up of local business and civic leaders who, in the significant majority of cases, give their time for free to oversee the strategic development of their college.
In some cases, where the college is significant in size and has, over a period, acquired smaller colleges and training providers these are referred to as a ‘group’. Regardless of the complexity of the college and its corporate governance structure, the Governors remain accountable as a governing body for the quality of provision offered to students and the organisation’s financial solvency.
Due to this responsibility, it is vital that the governing bodies of colleges across England have the required skills and abilities on their boards to support, scrutinize and challenge the plans put forward by the CEO or Principal and their executive teams. Some boards choose a model of governance which sees the Governors meet on a very regular basis and choose to only have two committees, whereas others will have a larger committee structure.
The funding for colleges can be complex depending on their offer to students, with the Education & Skills Funding Agency providing supporting the vast majority of government funded courses. Other funds might come from local authorities, employers, students themselves through the payment of tuition fees and other partners. The colleges’ financial health is graded by the ESFA in a similar way to Ofsted. Where their financial health grade is inadequate or requires improvement, it is likely that the board and/or executive team will be receiving support from the ESFA.
Governors have a duty to adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life, often referred to as the ‘Nolan Principles’.
These principles apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in the Civil Service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), and in the health, education, social and care services. All public office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public resources. The principles also apply to all those in other sectors delivering public services.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
Across the FE sector there have been, and continue to be, colleges which face a variety of strategic challenges for different reasons. As part of this ‘FE Governor Recruitment Pilot’, the Department for Education selected Peridot Partners to work with referred colleges on the search and selection of key governing body appointments.
Whilst the exact requirement for each position to be appointed to will depend entirely on each college’s need, Peridot expects to be working across England with colleges who have been successfully referred to us through the Department for Education.
Whilst each college will have their own specification for the attributes, skills and experiences for their Governors, in our experience colleges require people who have:
If you are considering applying to become Chair of a college then, ideally, you will be an experienced Non-Executive Director, Trustee or Governor – or have operated at the most senior level within a complex business environment and reported into a board. We believe you should plan to allocate between 2-4 days per month to carry out your responsibilities.
If you are applying to join the board of a college as a Governor, we suggest you plan to allocate up to 8 hours per month to carry out your responsibilities which will include preparing for and attending meetings.
If you are reading this then I am pleased to know you are considering joining the board of a further education college and sharing your expertise for the public benefit of thousands of students. If you choose to apply and are successful in your appointment, you will join a significant community of FE sector Governors across the country, collectively overseeing 244 colleges and providing education and training to around 2 million students.
There are always challenges in our colleges. But, with your support and strategic input as a Non-Executive Governor, I hope we will see a transformative change over the coming few years. Vocational education and technical skills are a key focus for this country and FE and sixth-form colleges are at the heart of this agenda. Colleges have the ability to develop curriculum which directly enhances productivity and employment within the regions they operate in. Despite whether you know a lot or very little about further education, I hope you will soon become an ambassador within your community for this much needed sector of our education system.
Whilst there is an expectation that you will ‘give’ and actively contribute to the developments of the college you intend to be a part of, you should also expect to gain new skills and perhaps even develop a new professional network both within the college and nationally. It should come as no surprise that through being involved with a provider of learning you will learn a lot – about the business of a college and the sector which it operates in. There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in the general life of your college through linking with curriculum and business support areas, and through speaking directly with students about their experiences.
We look forward to speaking with you about these opportunities.
Peridot Partners Ltd.
We are currently working to support several colleges across England. For more information about the college you are interested in, please click the links below to download the information packs for the roles we have available at present:
GB MET College – Brighton, Sussex
Nottingham College – Nottingham, East Midlands
RNN Group – South Yorkshire & North Nottinghamshire
For further information about this ‘FE Governor Recruitment Pilot’ and to discuss becoming a Governor of a college local to you, please contact:
Thank you for your interest in joining the board of your local college.
Please ensure you have downloaded and read the relevant candidate pack, which contains helpful information related to the college we are working with, and the dates associated with the specific recruitment campaign.
If you would like to speak with one of our consultants about an opportunity to become a Governor, then please contact:
Laura Atter – Business Support Manager (Education Practice) | Laura@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07985 431 599
Please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification. Please include your interest and motivation in applying for this position.
Please ensure that your application is emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org inserting the name of the organisation and role you are applying for into the subject field.
Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.
We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.
All applications will be considered solely on merit.
Equal Opportunities Monitoring
Peridot and each of our clients are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would be most grateful if you would complete the equality monitoring survey for the role you are applying for:
The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us and the client to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018.
The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.