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Key questions for the new college...

Who should run it?

Rather than being run by any one organisation, it has been suggested that the leadership college be managed by a consortium of experienced organisations, representing the different elements and needs of the sector. Where appropriate and mutually beneficial, the college should liaise with the National Schools' Leadership College on issues both have in common.

* Who should it train?

Ideally, courses and training schemes should be available to all levels of management, not just principals and senior management. The aim of the college is to train senior staff, so that they will eventually be qualified to take on the role of principal. But it is also to ensure staff at all levels are equipped to function in a professional manner within a further education context.

* Should it have a campus?

It need not have. Though an administrative centre would be useful, most programmes could be conducted primarily through online and distance learning. There would ideally be an opportunity, possibly in an induction course, for principals and managers from different colleges to meet and discuss common concerns. But most of the modular work would be completed independently.

* What will the courses involve?

Many think training courses and modules should involve work-shadowing and mentoring programmes. This would enable managers training at the college to learn from good practice in other institutions, and to observe how other colleges deal with common problems.

* Should courses be compulsory for senior management ?

Opinion in colleges seems to reject compulsion. This might discourage otherwise qualified applicants from seeking a position in the sector. Instead, the prevailing view is that courses should offer a benchmark against which college staff and managers can measure themselves. Courses should be available in modular elements, so that managers can pick and choose those that cater for their own shortcomings.

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