In response to the declining number of applicants for leadership posts in
Further Education, David Collinson developed the Practitioner Research
Programme. Funded by the UK Government's Learning and Skills Improvement
Service, the programme offered FE leaders and managers the opportunity to
produce research-informed answers to challenges they were facing in their
own practice. Findings were developed into 88 practitioner research
reports that were disseminated to every FE college in England and Wales
and made available online. Research engagement enhanced knowledge and
understanding of leadership issues, stimulating organisational change and
improving the performance of individuals, teams and organisations. Key
themes were presented at a national conference where outstanding projects
received awards for the impact of research on their own FE organisation,
the local community and leadership development. Findings were extensively
cited in the `Independent Commission on Colleges in their Communities'
report, and in the Foster Review of UK FE.