In his talk Simon Norton will cover the following key points:
On size alone, the Further Education (FE) sector is a central part of the English post-16 education and vocational training system. But this has not been matched by attention from policy makers, the media or academic researchers, leading FE Colleges to be characterized as a ‘Cinderella sector’ or ‘neglected middle child’. The talk will consider the reasons for that state of affairs and whether this is now changing, as some commentators claim. Discussion will focus on three strategic issues of particular importance for the future development of the English FE sector
- The potential to expand the delivery of Higher Education in FE Colleges
- The role of FE in delivering vocational qualifications in light of shifts in government policy and employer attitudes
- The sustainability of the current FE sector, given the risk of reductions in the Colleges’ incomes and increases in their costs
The presentation will draw upon a review of academic and sector literature, the views of a range of interviewees from the FE sector’s decision-makers and influencers, and the author’s experience as a former FE College Principal and Funding Council Executive Director. The talk will also identify areas in which further academic research would contribute to future policy development.