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At the top, there’s a long way to fall

With eight college leaders quitting their jobs in as many weeks, the pressure on principals and chief executives has never been greater. As the resignations pile up, George Ryan asks what does ‘good’ FE leadership look like? And what clues does the research give us about how to run a successful institution

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Within days of taking up her new job at one of London’s biggest colleges in the autumn, Karen Redhead knew it was in trouble. Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College was on the verge of running out of money; as things stood, it wouldn’t have enough cash to pay its staff.

She realised that swift and decisive action was needed: she picked up the phone and asked the Department for Education for emergency financial support.

“This did take courage, but it was the best course of action for the college given the serious situation it found itself in,” Redhead says (see box, opposite). “I had ...

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