The government will provide funding for training to develop college governors, the skills minister has told the sector.
Anne Milton was speaking at the Association of Colleges' governance summit in London on Wednesday.
The DfE will work with the Education and Training Foundation to provide a tiered programme of development for governors starting later this year. “This will provide comprehensive and tailored support from induction to advanced governance skills,” Ms Milton added.
The government has already funded the Saïd Business School leadership programme, developed in partnership with the Education and Training Foundation, for college principals, which Ms Milton said was “well received”, but she added that the Department for Education (DfE) wanted to extend investment to non-executive leadership.
In a speech addressing some of the struggles the FE sector is facing, the skills minister highlighted the challenges faced by leaders at colleges going through mergers. “I appreciate that area reviews have been time-consuming and involved difficult decisions for college leaders and governors,” she said.
“But, as the recommendations from the reviews are implemented, the changes will help to make sure that the sector is better placed to respond in the future.”
‘Money is tight’
On the issue of funding, Ms Milton acknowledged the financial pressure in the sector. “Money is tight everywhere. In the FE sector it is particularly tight," she said. "I am amazed how well colleges respond. However, my job will always be as a champion in government, lobbying for the important role of colleges to be reflected in the decisions that are taken.”
Speaking about her “feminist awakening in later life”, Ms Milton said she was “disappointed” at the lack of women in college chair positions across the country.
“As we mark the anniversary of votes for women, it’s encouraging that the proportion of female governors is already well ahead of the target for women on company boards – although still less than 50 per cent. But it’s disappointing that women only make up 30 per cent of college chairs. So we still have work to do to close the gap.”
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