The Coming of Age for FE?

Reflections on the past and future role of further education colleges in England

Paperback / softback, 240 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 Jun 2015
Institute of Education Press

Price: £24.99

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Twenty-one years on from Incorporation, the time is surely right to put away childish things ('That's where hairdressers go to get qualifications, isn't it?') and take a mature, honest stock-take of the Further Education sector. In this detailed, scholarly and yet remarkably accessible collection, Ann Hodgson brings together leading FE researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, from whose work emerges a fascinating narrative of the development of the sector and the place it finds itself in today.

As Lorna Unwin argues in her Foreword, this book is simultaneously a celebration of FE and a clear-eyed appraisal of its strengths and weaknesses, and the challenges it continues to face. It is about politics, student experience, curriculum, assessment, teachers and managers, space and place, governors and governance, leaders and leadership, power and future vision. Or, what goes on in colleges.

  • Ann Hodgson

    Ann Hodgson is Professor of Post-Compulsory Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, and Director at Learning for London @ IOE.

  • Bill Bailey

    Bill Bailey is a Visiting Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Norman Crowther

    Norman Crowther is National Official for Post-16 Education, Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

  • Peter Davies

    Peter Davies is an independent researcher and consultant who has worked on educational marketing, student participation, retention, progression, and achievement.

  • Mick Fletcher

    Mick Fletcher is an education consultant, a director of RCU Ltd, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Paul Grainger

    Paul Grainger is Co-Director of the Post-14 Centre for Research and Innovation, and coordinator for FE@IOE at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Julian Gravatt

    Julian Gravatt is Assistant Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges.

  • John Graystone

    John Graystone is an education consultant. For 13 years he was Chief Executive of ColegauCymru/CollegesWales.

  • Sue Jones

    Sue Jones is a freelance journalist, writer, and former teacher at a Hertfordshire comprehensive school where she was head of history and humanities.

  • Tom Jupp

    Tom Jupp was the first principal of the newly created City and Islington College (1993–2001). Subsequently he has undertaken a wide range of work across further and adult education.

  • Norman Lucas

    Norman Lucas is Reader of Further and Adult Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Andrew Morris

    Andrew Morris works in a freelance capacity on the use of evidence in education. He was formerly a manager at the Learning and Skills Development Agency, and a director at City and Islington College.

  • Ian Nash

    Ian Nash is a freelance journalist, writer, and former Assistant Editor (Further Education) of the Times Educational Supplement.

  • Judith Norrington

    Judith Norrington, formerly a Group Director of Policy, Research, and Regulation at City & Guilds and a Director of Curriculum and Quality at the Association of Colleges, is now an Education and Skills Consultant.

  • Kevin Orr

    Kevin Orr is Reader in Work and Learning at the University of Huddersfield.

  • Adrian Perry

    Adrian Perry was a college principal for 15 years in Sheffield and London, then worked as a consultant on further education policy and practice.He was appointed OBE in 2003.

  • Tony Pitcher

    Tony Pitcher worked in further education from 1968 to 2014; as a teacher, then as the principal of three colleges and subsequently as a non-executive board member.

  • David Sherlock

    David Sherlock is the former Chief Inspector of the Adult Learning Inspectorate and a director of the consultancy ‘Beyond Standards’.

  • Ken Spours

    Ken Spours is Professor of Post-Compulsory Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Post-14 Research and Innovation at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Geoff Stanton

    Geoff Stanton is an independent consultant and visiting fellow at the UCL Institute of Education, having previously worked in four colleges and been Director of the Further Education Unit.

  • Dan Taubman

    Dan Taubman retired from his position as UCU Senior National Education Official at the end of 2013 and is now an education consultant and a visiting research associate at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Lorna Unwin

    Lorna Unwin OBE is Professor Emerita of Vocational Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Joanna van Heyningen

    Joanna van Heyningen co-founded van Heyningen and Haward Architects in 1982 and retired in 2012. She is now an active participant in further education.

  • Chris Wilderspin

    Chris Wilderspin is a partner at van Heyningen and Haward Architects, where he has focused on education building projects.

  • Rob Wye

    Rob Wye was formerly Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service and the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education. He is now a Research Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education.

CONTENTS: Foreword, by Lorna Unwin; 1. What is FE? by Ann Hodgson, Bill Bailey, and Norman Lucas; 2. The politicians’ tale, by Ian Nash and Sue Jones; 3. Students count, by Adrian Perry and Peter Davies; 4. What goes on in colleges: Curriculum and qualifications, by Geoff Stanton, Andrew Morris and Judith Norrington; 5. The FE workforce, by Mick Fletcher, Norman Lucas, Norman Crowther, and Dan Taubman; 6. Space and place: Colleges rebuilding, by Paul Grainger, Chris Wilderspin, Joanna van Heyningen and Tony Pitcher; 7. Governance and governors, by John Graystone, Kevin Orr, and Rob Wye; 8. Levers of power: Funding, inspection and performance management, by Mick Fletcher, Julian Gravatt, and David Sherlock; 9. Leadership and leaders of colleges, by Tom Jupp; 10. The future for FE colleges in England: The case for a new post-incorporation model, by Ann Hodgson and Ken Spours; Index.

'Whether you are new to the sector or an FE veteran, The Coming of Age for FE? is essential reading. No minister should be allowed to preside over the FE sector before reading and answering questions about this book. I finished reading with a much better appreciation of the sector and how its leaders have responded to ever-changing and often contradictory Government policy. Despite the complexity of the sector and its recent history, the book’s essays paint a fascinating picture. If only all policy analysis was as engaging as this.'

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts

'Here, at last, is a text to help comprehend what happened to further education colleges after they became formally independent institutions in the 1990s. It is a story of gains, retreats, survivals and renewals. Reflecting on these years are expert commentators from within the college system and its professional and academic communities. The accounts are illuminating and the judgements telling, not least for the policy learning that did not happen and the autonomies still to be won.'

Gareth Parry, Professor of Education, University of Sheffield

'This important and stimulating collection goes a long way to showing the FE sector coming of age - with key actors analysing a wide range of dimensions of the over-regulated, under-valued work of colleges since 1993, and opening rich agendas for future debate.'

Alan Tuckett, Professor of Education, University of Wolverhampton

'This is a really timely and important book. It not only sets out the recent history of FE colleges, and their evolution under successive governments, but also a plausible and compelling vision for their future as central players in a decentralized English state, in which policy goals for adult learning and skills development are pursued by democratic institutions, rather than bureaucracies or markets.'

Nick Pearce, Director, Institute for Public Policy Research

'It deserves to be the first thing that any Minister for Skills reads on coming into office.'

David Sherlock, Shouts and Whispers, Issue no. 89, June 2015

'.. brings together 'Reflections on the past and the future role of further education colleges in England' by a community of FE practitioners long involved in what can be called the UCL Institute of Education’s professional project for FE.'

Patrick Ainley, Post-16 Educator, July 2015