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A multi-dimensional approach to principalshipIn the last two decades, principalship within further education has moved from being the chief academic officer to one which has bought about the combination of the chief executive element with the academic role, imposing greater demands and levels of accountability on the postholder. In light of these changes, it is appropriate to ask what is known about the nature of the role and how individuals can be encouraged to aspire to principalship. This paper considers what principals themselves perceive the role to involve and looks at existing literature on the way in which the principalship can be categorised. Relatively little has been written on the role of principals within further education colleges, yet at a time when Frearson (2005), Hargreave and Fink (2006) and Davies and Davies (2011) are debating the 'timebomb' within educational leadership more needs to be understood about the nature of the role if individuals are to develop into the next generation of college leaders.