A principals' organisation has broken ranks with the Association of Colleges to form links with a body that represents school heads.
With pupils attending FE colleges part-time, and the advent of 14-19 diplomas, principals want a common understanding with their counterparts in schools about how such policies work.
The Principals' Professional Council has signed a deal with the National Association of Head Teachers. The PPC emphasised that it represents principals and deputies as individuals, and that the move does not affect the AoC's role in representing the colleges run by its members. The two bodies will form a "federal" arrangement. From next month, the PPC will no longer be part of the AoC.
Michael Thrower, general secretary of the PPC, which claims the majority of principals as members, said: "This exciting development allows the PPC to retain its identity and officers, and enhances the political voice of the FE sector's leaders at the national negotiating table.
"I think we will be able to give the people we represent greater opportunity for expression if we are no longer part of the AoC. I think the wall that perhaps once divided schools and colleges has now gone, but if we are to manage the way in which both sectors are moving, there needs to be more dialogue."
As well as giving colleges a greater voice in schools, the NAHT says the move will help heads to be more effective in curriculum development and allow them to tap in to a wider variety of perspectives on 14-19 education.