In 2015 the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) awarded the University of Hull a small research grant to explore ethical leadership in FE. The purpose of the project is to develop new thinking on the subject of leadership and to develop ideas that have both academic rigour and practical utility.
Working in partnership with both Professor Ann Hodgson, from UCL Institute of Education and Professor Jill Jameson, University of Greenwich, Principal Investigator, Dr Carol Azumah Dennis from the University of Hull is seeking to identify 10 Further Education colleges who would be willing to participate in the research. The research team will produce 10 case studies each of which asks and answers the question: what does ethical leadership look like in practice. More critically: how do Leaders (or leadership teams) in FE retain sight of their principles when working in a hostile and unsympathetic policy environment. In this is study we are interested in what counts in FE in sharp contrast to what can be counted. The project s interested in what college leaders declare as their commitment through conversation, through mission statements and the explicit espousal of their values. But we are even more interested in how those values are embodied in a leadership team and manifest on how the colleges conducts its business. Our aim is to grasp the mist of college ethos to hold it in our hands and analyse it.
The Leadership for Learning project is steered by an advisory group with representatives from both HE and FE. Included in the FE representative is an experienced, qualified and retained OfSTED inspector. As part of the project, the research team is keen to generate case studies to inform the research while offering colleges feedback in the form of what for the moment at least we are calling a ‘leadership’ profile. This leadership profile (or ‘ethical’ profile) will be generated through one-to-one interviews, an online survey of the entire college community and focus group interviews with managers and staff plus attendance at a everyday college management meeting by a member of the research team. At the end of the process we will feedback to the college a profile that evidences their work towards Question 4 of the newly devised OfSTED framework: The successful promotion of learners personal development, behaviour and welfare. This is not the explicit purpose of the case study, but it is an interesting and valuable outcome that we feel case study colleges might appreciate. The profiles will be reviewed and approved by the advisory group.
In a week where our Prime Minister has declared that Muslim communities on England and Wales are ‘quietly condoning’ terrorism and placed on colleges a statutory requirement to ‘prevent people being drawn into terrorism, which includes not just violent extremism but also non-violent extremism’: how will educators reconcile this requirement and the sanction non-compliance risks with a father’s right to spend time with his son and Abdul’s right to drink coffee wrapped in a paper cup?
If you would be interested in becoming a Case Study College or would like to find out more about the research, please contact: carol dot dennis at hull dot (ac) dot (uk).
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