National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education
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New Publication: 157 Group and fbfe publish think piece on Spiritual Leadership in further education


The 157 Group and the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education (fbfe) have today published “Talking to leaders about spiritual leadership: seeing it through to the shadows”. The document, which is a collection of interviews with successful leaders from further education colleges, aims to add to the debate about the qualities needed by educational leaders, and focuses in particular on the spiritual, moral and cultural aspects of leadership decision-making.


Dr John Wise, chief executive of fbfe, said, “There exists a legacy of work and research in the FE sector, which argues that learners, lecturers and leaders thrive where all have a voice, where their work is connected to a higher purpose and when they work in environments that honour their beliefs and values. We wanted to know whether spiritual issues were important to college principals personally, and if so, whether they influenced their strategic leadership and behaviours.


“We also wanted to know whether principals believed their values, faith or spirituality actually made a difference to the success of their organisations, and if so, how. This publication raises questions about the nature, role and prevalence of values, faith and spirituality in FE college leadership, and should be of interest to anyone with a passion for learner success.”


Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, executive director of the 157 Group, said, “The public policy debate is increasingly turning towards questions not just of financial viability and economic impact, but also of public well‑being, character and resilience. The interviews in this publication are a demonstration of the ways in which several FE leaders guide their own development and decision-making. They provide a fascinating insight into the human aspects of successful leadership.


“We hope that this publication will add to the body of work around the social, moral, cultural and spiritual elements of education, alongside reports such as the RSA’s recent “Schools with Soul”. By extending consideration of these themes to the critical area of leadership, we intend for this publication to be of practical use to educational leaders across the country.”


Notes for editors

The publication is available at

The press notice is available online at


About the 157 Group

The 157 Group represents 29 of the most influential colleges in the FE sector. It was formed in 2006 in response to paragraph 157 of Sir Andrew Foster’s report on the future of further education colleges, in which he argued that principals of large, successful colleges should play a greater role in policymaking.



Andy Gannon


The 157 Group Limited

PO Box 58147



About fbfe 

fbfe is the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education, a national independent inter-faith charity working with the learning and skills sector, faith and local communities and national and local faith/belief based groups. fbfe exists to support the further education sector to engage positively with faith and belief.


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