The illuminative research gives an account of the reactions and opinions of
college principals to changes in the English further education system effected
through two major pieces of legislation: the 1988 Education Reform Act and the
1992 Further and Higher Education Act. The methodology included a postal
questionnaire to 34 principals followed by intensive interviews with 15 principals
in East Midlands colleges, in-depth interviews with 3 further principals of
national standing outside the East Midlands and an examination of principals'
meetings and literature relevant to the period. The research explored a number
of areas including student recruitment; staffing; competition to colleges;
administration, management and finance; issues arising from the 1988 and 1992
Education Acts; and other general areas affecting college principals. It charted
the progress of five years of significant development of the English further
education system and exposed considerable concern about the imposed speed of
change, degree of turbulence and the paucity of training, help and guidance
given to colleges during this period. It also revealed details of principals' successes, failures and personal costs, as well as identifying considerable losses
of staff and concomitant disquiet and unrest during the major attitudinal changes
and management reconstructions which were taking place throughout a decade
of significant development.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.