Further Education: Principals Reference Group

The group is made up of serving college principals and supports the Further Education (FE) Commissioner in improving performance in FE colleges.

Terms of reference

The Principals Reference Group supports, challenges and advises the Further Education Commissioner in his role of improving performance in FE colleges and contributing to policy development for colleges in the FE sector.

The group:

  • acts as a forum for the FE Commissioner to consult serving college principals on critical issues in improving performance
  • acts as a confidential sounding board for other teams at the Department for Education (DfE) to test policy developments affecting FE colleges, bringing practitioner voice and expertise into the DfE
  • supports the engagement of the FE Commissioner and the DfE with other FE leaders, while retaining independence from the DfE
  • encourages the sharing of best practice
  • acts as an additional channel of communication between FE colleges and the DfE to convey issues pertinent to colleges
  • takes into account and passes on the views of colleges within the FE sector

The group will have no power of veto over operational or policy decisions.


The group will meet around 6 times a year, as required.


Membership includes the Further Education Commissioner and 7 serving chief executive principals. We appointed the principals through a fair and open recruitment process.

The principals are:


Office of the FE Commissioner
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
20 Great Smith Street

Contact details