The sector's top civil service job is about to become vacant following the announcement from Janice Shiner that she is quitting to take up a senior post in New Zealand.
The former principal of Leicester college is resigning as director-general for lifelong learning at the Department for Education and Skills. Since her appointment in January 2002, she has had responsibility for further education, adult basic skills, prison education and the department's international agenda.
She is leaving in June to take up the role of chief executive of New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission, a government body which overseas further and higher education.
Two names being touted to replace her are Peter Lauener, who works with her as director of qualifications and young people, and Susan Pember, director of the Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit.