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Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses has been reviewed in the prestigious Journal of Vocational Education & Training

John Field writes

‘… this book presents a radical alternative agenda for the further education (FE) sector in Britain. The sector’s budget in England was reduced by 14% under the coalition, with further cuts already planned. The Scottish Government and Welsh Government have similarly treated FE as an ideal way of making savings. All this in a sector that has been steadily nudged towards the market, and whose functions and purposes have altered steadily, since the 1980s. … To describe FE as a ‘Cinderella sector’ has become a cliché, and it is one that the contributors to this book refuse to share. Informed by a shared background in FE teaching, and often active in trade unions and other movements, their goal is to prompt a debate about resistance and freedom in education, subverting what they see as neo-liberal managerialism in the governance and administration of FE, and expanding their and their students’ autonomy in learning and teaching. … In a sense, the contributions set out a series of arguments for a shared democratic professionalism. Some stay on the terrain of critique of what is rather than venturing too far down the path of an alternative future. … For me, though, the best chapters look less at what is and more at what might be. …This is a cracking book, and anyone who loves what FE at its best can be and do will find it both inspirational and useful. … its main purpose is to intervene and breathe fire into the current debate over FE in England, and in this it succeeds admirably.’

Edited by Maire Daley, Kevin Orr and Joel Petrie with a preface by Frank Coffield, this collection challenges the deficit ‘Cinderella’ metaphor and replaces it with another of the Brothers Grimm’s tales, the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’. The twelve princesses escape from the room they are locked in to dance all through each night. As a metaphor for teaching in FE, this tale suggests the possibility of subversion, of autonomy in teaching and learning, and a collective rather than individualist notion of professionalism, even within repressive contexts. A Trentham Book at IOE Press.

Buy Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the IOE Press website.

You can read the full review and subscribe to the journal on the publisher’s website.


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