Area Reviews and the End of Incorporation: a Machiavellian Moment

Smith, Rob (2017) Area Reviews and the End of Incorporation: a Machiavellian Moment. In: The Principal: power and professionalism in FE. IOE UCL, pp. 6-17.

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At first glance, FE is over-populated by would-be princes. That is primarily because the culture of the sector has been profoundly influenced by neoliberal structures of governance and cultures of performance management which assert colleges’ autonomy. This supposed autonomy confers and promotes a type of leadership that is individual, entrepreneurial and competitive. We might therefore imagine that every town has its own FE principality and each Principal is busy planning on how, ruthlessly, to expand her / his empire. However, the deep cuts to FE budgets experienced since 2009 and the national programme of Area Reviews, launched in September 2015, have made principals’ princely robes look decidedly threadbare. Drawing on findings from a recent research project, this chapter will explore the implications for FE leadership of these recent sectoral developments.
Beginning in 1993, the era of incorporation required a particular kind of leadership that positioned FE principals at the intersection between the college and the wider policy environment. Managerialist cultures dominated and financial responsibility, managing local competition and delivering educational outcomes were key aspects of coordinating a local FE service. At the same time, links with local authorities were severed and replaced with a relation of centralised governance. Above all, incorporation required college leaders to develop an expertise in funding and the management of performance data to satisfy funding bodies and policy-makers.

Item Type: Book Section
4 September 2017UNSPECIFIED
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Rob Smith
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2019 09:01
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:02

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