Preparing for CEO Programme



Launched in 2017, this programme, delivered by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and funded by the Department for Education is aimed specifically for experienced Further Education leaders who are looking to step-up to the role of Principal or CEO in the next 1-2 years. Over 130 participants have taken part already.

It is designed to help those preparing to take on the role of Principal and CEO to be able to articulate purpose and set vision, think strategically and for the long-term.

This includes working with a complex set of internal and external stakeholders, develop and lead high performing teams, manage performance with strong commercial acumen, and have a deep commitment to delivering public value.

Download our programme brochures:

You can also watch this video co-created with the Saïd Business School about our Leadership and Governance development programmes.

Key benefits

Participants benefit from having the knowledge and confidence to:

  • become the Chief Accounting Officer - leading financial security
  • direct the educational nature of the college; creating and leading a clear vision
  • take responsibility for staff and build high performing teams
  • drive excellence in governance and working collaboratively with the Board;

Richard Atkins, the FE Commissioner has highlighted attendance on the ETF Leadership courses as one of his 10 recommendations for effective colleges leadership. He has stated that colleges should,  "Ensure that your Chair, Principal/CEO and FD attend the relevant Said Business School/ETF leadership programmes. Feedback from these programmes is overwhelmingly positive."

You can also read an article by Sir Frank McLoughlin CBE on the importance of this programme in the Times Educational Supplement.

Programme content

The programme is a mix of strategic leadership and technical development and key initial themes include:

  • adaptive leadership,
  • understanding your leadership style,
  • networking,
  • reputation,
  • culture and values
  • working collaboratively
  • resilience, and,
  • understanding finance / possessing business acumen.

All participants will be eligible for membership of Oxford Business Alumni.

Book your place

Preparing for CEO Programme


To find out more, please contact Jo Matthews at