The Principal

Power and professionalism in FE

Paperback / softback, 248 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
4 Sep 2017
Trentham Books

Price: £24.99

This collection examines how power is exercised and experienced in the Further Education sector. The sequel to 'Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses', this book is similarly playful, but deadly serious in intent.

Using Machiavelli’s celebrated and contested treatise 'The Prince' as a metaphorical guide, the contributors each take a different perspective to interrogate leadership, agency and professionalism in FE. The scope of The Principal is as wide as the sector, with chapters on adult education and the FE systems throughout the UK and in Ireland and Australia. The writers share a fierce commitment to FE and this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about how and where the FE sector is being led.

  • Maire Daley

    Maire Daley is the former Programme Leader for Teacher Education at the City of Liverpool College.

  • Kevin Orr

    Kevin Orr is Professor of Work and Learning at the University of Huddersfield.

  • Joel Petrie

    Joel Petrie is a doctoral researcher at the University of Huddersfield.

CONTENTS: Preface, by Geoffrey Elliott; Introduction: FE’s Machiavellian moment and its Promethean promise, by Joel Petrie; PART 1: Introduction: Power and Principals, by Mike Aiello; 1. Area reviews and the end of incorporation: A Machiavellian moment, by Rob Smith; 2. ‘Il Principe’: A handbook for career-makers in FE; Geoff Brown; 3. A letter from Niccolò: Machiavellian indulgences and strategic myths, by Carol Azumah Dennis; 4. ‘For one will always find malcontents’: In defence of the principal, by Damien Page; PART 2: Introduction: Princes and Principalities, by John Field; 5. Mixed messages (or how to undermine your own policy): ESOL provision in the Scottish FE sector, by Steve Brown; 6. No music in the principality of song: De-professionalization in Welsh FE, by Peter Jones; 7. Under the sovereign’s baleful gaze: Space, power and policy in the making of Irish further education and training, by Fergal Finnegan; 8. The prince and English apprenticeships, by Simon Reddy; 9. The former principal–agent problem in Victorian technical and further education: Principals with principles, by Gavin Moodie; PART 3: Introduction: The Body Politic: Citizenship, community and professionalism, by Maire Daley; 10. The renovation of Machiavellian innovation: A return to a celebration of the good, by Gary Husband; 11. The prince and the paupers: The mean end of the stick, by Alex Dunedin; 12. Principalities of people: Destabilizing the prince’s power through acts of connection, by Jim Crawley; 13. Better to be feared than loved? The terrors of performativity in FE, by Rajiv Khosla; 14. The Prince, principals and their principalities, by David Powell; 15. Transforming the prince to a Prince of Hope: Emancipatory adult education empowering students and communities, by Vicky Duckworth; PART 4: Introduction: FE Utopia: Towards a new republic, by Kevin Orr; 16. Machiavelli, tactics, and utopia?, by Craig Hammond; 17. Seeking emancipation in a world of online emancipators, by Peter Shukie; 18. Inside the Trojan horse: Educating teachers for leadership, by Rania Hafez; 19. Exiled to Sant’Andrea: The excluded voices of FE, by Rob Peutrell; 20. Social purpose leadership: A new hope, by Lou Mycroft and Jane Weatherby; 21. Beyond cynicism, comfort radicalism and emancipatory practice: FE teachers, by James Avis; Conclusion, by Ann-Marie Bathmaker; Coda: Student voice: At the heart of policy but silent in practice?, by Shakira Martin; Index

'Whatever interest you have in FE (from student to teacher to senior staff to governor), this book has much to stimulate and entertain the reader.'

Read the full review here:

Ron Hill, Management in Education, 33(2), 96–96

'The relevance of Machiavelli to current FE leadership is made horribly clear in this ingenious, fresh and challenging collection of essays. Political theory is used to devastating but useful effect to open up a space in which it is possible to think about power and the principal differently.'

Stephen J. Ball, Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology of Education, UCL Institute of Education

‘The Principal is thought-provoking and creates an essential awareness of contemporary issues facing teaching, learning and FE practice in general. It offers a realistic outlook and critical analysis of FE leadership, management and governance systems. The articles highlight complexity and duplicity, and expose the sinister side of FE operations and current work practices. Nevertheless, there is optimism in the text, seen in the resilient outlook captured in those articles where some authors more than others illustrate collective strategies actually used by practitioners to find freedom and deliver critical education despite tight institutional constraints. Hence this book makes an important contribution to the discipline of further education, in particular through its focus on power and leadership in a neoliberal context. It is highly recommended: teacher trainees, educators, researchers, policymakers and careers guidance advisers would certainly benefit from the contributions within it.’

Carleen Cornish (2018), 'Principals Reviewed', Post-16 Educator, issue 90, 13 - 14

'The book offers a score of ethical, professional and cultural challenges to those invested in Further Education and will be of interest, and indeed use, to those who seek to contribute to alternative, creative, dynamic, and ethical futures.'

John Harrison, PRISM 2(2)

‘This book shines light on the dark arts of political street fighting in colleges. Machiavelli is the prism through which you will learn about how power between governments and colleges, and management and teachers, is exercised, resisted, exercised and resisted again. While the book shows just how brutal the exercise of power can be in the college sector, it also tells of resistance, courage, and hope. This is a book for all students of education. It is gripping reading.’

Leesa Wheelahan, William G. Davis Chair in Community College Leadership, University of Toronto

‘Just when I was wondering what more damage politicians could possibly do to the vital FE sector, this book arrives with disturbing comparative studies, unsettling, critical research and deliciously subversive irony. Together these 25 authors offer the sector the democratic practices needed for a journey of hope.’

Frank Coffield, Emeritus Professor, UCL Institute of Education

'The need for a dynamic further education system is greater than it has ever been, but too often the sector has been hampered by weak governance and limited ambition. This volume confronts those limitations head on and sets out an alternative prospectus for the sector that is both imaginative and audacious. Much more than an argument for "second chance" education, the contributors open up the possibility of genuine transformatory change. This book could not be more timely.'

Professor Howard Stevenson, Director of Research, School of Education, University of Nottingham

'A direct and provocative challenge to every principal and senior leader in FE. It raises difficult but pertinent ethical, strategic, professional and pragmatic questions concerning the whole system as well as policy, students, practitioners, motivation, action and self justification alongside the potential, or actual, use and abuse of power. The thread of irony running throughout the book is used to clever effect and may, at times, require an open, inquiring, reflective, honest and tolerant mind from any reader currently in a leadership position.

This is a deeply refreshing and important contribution to the leadership literature of FE, written from the perspective of voices seldom heard. If read widely and taken seriously this book could revolutionise FE leadership discourse, professionalism and practice.'

Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Former FE college principal, Chief Executive of the 157 Group (2008–15) and Centre for Excellence in Leadership (2004–08)