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Getting down to some FE DIY

If they don't re-invent themselves as consultants, some principals like to spend their retirement doing those little jobs they have been putting off for years, like re-laying the patio.

Or at least supervising operations while the work is carried out by someone with a stronger back.

Sir Bernard O'Connell, who quit last summer after 20 years at the helm of Runshaw college in Leyland, Lancashire, has something different in mind. He is about to see the publication of a book which he has been writing, advising his successors on how to do the job.

Creating An Outstanding College could meet with some scepticism if the reception he got the other day is anything to go by.

He spoke at a two-day workshop organised by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership. While his thoughts were widely appreciated, I hear some principals from big FE colleges think his humble tertiary college is small-league stuff compared to what they have to manage.

Big talk indeed. But even if they are reluctant to admit to needing help (always the hardest challenge I'm told), will they secretly lap up his advice on the quiet?

We shall soon find out. Sir Bernard's next CEL workshop is in November - a month afer his work hits the bookshops, when he should have a good idea whether people are buying it.

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