Since the 157 Group was established in March 2006, an important part of our focus has been to increase our involvement in national representation, ensuring that we and our members, as thought leaders, have a powerful influence on critical policy priorities, while contributing to the development of policy and its implementation across the FE sector.
The 157 policy agenda
Throughout the year, the principals from all our member colleges meet regularly at round‑table events to discuss priorities and devise our policy position and key messages on performance management, community cohesion, efficiencies, 14-19 education and higher education in further education.
We are clear that the strategic and civic role of large urban colleges in the subregional agenda and in city regeneration, combined with shaping the future sector landscape on mergers and configurations, will be major areas of focus for us in the next phase of our policy work.
In September 2009, we were the first membership group in the sector to publish a manifesto, which was based on members' policy discussions and sets out our views and priorities for action.
Representation to government
Many 157 Group principals participate as chairs and members of various government and ministerial advisory groups. We also give verbal evidence to select committees and act as specialist advisers on a range of critical topics.
Select committees are key agents for influencing the government and ministers, and our members play a critical role in select committee discussions and debates. As successful and highly experienced leaders and practitioners, we give written and verbal evidence, expressing our own opinions and representing members' views.
Influencing sector policy debate
The 157 Group offers a significant contribution by participating on formal boards and committees with sector agencies, including those responsible for policy implementation; local and regional boards; and other representative bodies. Through this participation, the 157 Group is able to share expertise and opinion, provide an expert sounding board for new ideas and provide a channel for communication to other 157 Group members.
Developing leading edge thinking
A vital part of being a 157 Group member is the potential to be at the forefront of specialist thinking, to share, debate and challenge with other leaders. We have now begun to formalise this process through a series of seminars, dinners and events, led by experts in specific areas.
Our policy papers represent the collective voice of our members - college principals and expert practitioners. The themese, developed over a series of debates, represent the areas of greatest concern for them as leasers of some of the largest and most successful colleges.
For a full list of the 157 Group's policy papers, please click here.