Strategic Leadership Programme (SLP) for Principals and CEOs

Together with the Saïd Business School, Oxford University, we have designed this programme to raise leadership capability and capacity, for Principals and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) across the Further Education and Training sector.

Funded by the Department for Education, the programme provides Principals and CEOs with a deeper understanding of their role as change agents. It supports them in the critical part they play in delivering the ambitious plans for the FE sector, raising its capability and prestige. It applies thinking about leadership in the context of themselves as individuals, their organisation and the sector as a whole.

Over 125 Principals and CEOs have gone through the programme over five cohorts since it was launched in 2017. The Strategic Leadership programme, consists of two three-day residential modules, at Saïd Business School’s executive education facilities in Oxford. A third, optional module, is available for participants who wish to continue their learning journey. Module 3 focuses on ‘Sustaining success’.

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

Key benefits

Those taking part benefit from:

  • an enhanced capacity to operate at a senior level in a complex and fast-changing environment
  • an ability to plan, lead and implement strategy for long term sustainable advantage
  • key skills for effective risk and reputation management
  • understanding important trends in the sector
  • a deeper understanding of the political complexity of management
  • a diverse and talented group of peers with whom to learn, exchange experiences, and generate ideas
  • membership of Oxford Business Alumni Network.

Programme content

The programme is a mix of strategic leadership and technical. Key themes include adaptive leadership, strategic thinking, strategic finance, collaboration and partnerships, resilience, reputation and prestige.

The programme aims to develop leaders who can:

  • see and engage with the wider system and political environment
  • manage and change the institutional culture
  • build the senior team
  • work collaboratively with the Board and its Chair
  • build partnerships with employers
  • understand finance and possess business acumen.


"The learning experience has been invaluable for me at this stage of my career."

Jo Maher
Principal and CEO,
Boston College

Watch our video testimonials:

Sir Frank McLoughlin CBE

Chris Webb, Principal, Barnsley College (now at  Bradford College)

Book your place

Strategic Leadership Programme (main)

This course is open only to CEOs and Principals who are designated as the Chief Accounting Officer for their organisation.


To find out more, please contact Apinder Sidhu at