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Establishing professional expectations in further education middle management: the human resource managers’ perspective

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The further education (FE) sector is a challenging working environment with expectations to deliver high quality education against a backdrop of continuous policy and structural reforms. FE managers play a key part in how FE institutions respond to this dynamic operating environment. However, despite the importance of this role there is an absence of an agreed set of professional expectations for FE middle managers.

Sector bodies have commissioned research to address recruitment challenges and support workforce development, but, this is often directed towards teachers. As a result the credibility of FE teachers has increased markedly, which is welcomed. However, FE middle managers who are responsible for the management of teachers and operationalisation of organisational strategies have not benefited from comparable opportunities for professionalisation. In contrast they suffer from a lack of support when assimilating into the role. This paper investigates the role of FE middle manager through the lens of those responsible for their recruitment and development, human resource (HR) managers. Through the administration of a national survey of HR managers, drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, this paper establishes a new theoretical framework; four pillars of professional expectations for FE middle managers. Furthermore it highlights the value in a contextualised approach, moving away from generic management standards.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Early online date15 Sep 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 15 Sep 2020


  • Establishing professional expectations

    Rights statement: Stephen Corbett, 'Establishing professional expectations in further education middle management: The human resource manager’s perspective'. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. Copyright © 2020 (The Author). DOI: 10.1177/1741143220957328.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 508 KB, PDF document

    Licence: Unspecified

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