Past Event details

HE in FE: becoming established in the field?

Thursday, 06 November 2014

The provision of higher education in further education colleges (HE in FE) is now an established part of a diversified system of HE in England. The suggestion in recent policy discussion is that participation in HE in FE should be encouraged as a high quality vocationally-oriented alternative to university HE. However, while the number of students may have increased, the proportion of students studying HE in FE has remained stable for some considerable time. The first paper in this seminar investigates why this may be, and goes on to consider the implications for a social mobility agenda. The second paper in the seminar turns to the experience of lecturing staff, and reports on an initiative that aims to support staff involvement in research activities. Underlying the initiative is a focus on developing research-informed practice that will enhance the quality and reputation of HE in FE provision. 
 
Higher Education in Further Education and its impact on social mobility in England
Kevin Orr, University of Huddersfield
 
Further Education (FE) institutions in England have been providing a variety of higher education (HE) courses for decades. Despite the more recent expansion of HE in England, however, the proportion of those studying HE in FE colleges has remained curiously stable at around ten per cent of all HE students. This paper sets out to investigate why the proportion of college-based HE has remained so stable by setting this extremely diverse provision within its wider social and economic context. In so doing, this study reveals an important aspect of the increasing differentiation of the HE sector in this country. The paper examines secondary statistical data on HE students in FE colleges, including the type of course they are taking and their consequent destinations, to question if HE in FE provides “An engine for widening participation and social mobility” as claimed by the Policy Exchange think tank. 
Kevin Orr is a reader in the School of Education and Professional Development at the University of Huddersfield. Prior to his role at Huddersfield he taught for sixteen years in Further Education colleges, often on HE in FE courses, and his research has remained focused on vocational education and training. 
 
Time to Think: supporting research and professional practice in college-based HE
Maggie Gregson University of Sunderland
 
Policy initiatives in Further Adult and Vocational Education (FAVE), which aim to improve education, depend upon the willingness and expertise of teachers to reflect upon such initiatives and their ability to research how best to implement them in order to improve practice. Clearly the conditions under which teachers have the scope for reflection and contextualisation in relation to the interpretation, implementation, adaptation and evaluation of policy initiatives in the FAVE sector are crucial not only to their success but also to the reach and impact of educational policy. Practitioner-led research and research-informed reflective teaching in College Based Higher Education are therefore, central elements in the improvement of educational practice. This paper reports on a model of HE-supported, practitioner-led research in the FAVE sector. It takes as its starting point the view that most teachers of HE in the FAVE sector do not just want to ‘get by’ in their work, they want to get better and better at what they do in order to reach the same standards of teaching and research as their HE counterparts. They do this not only for the rewards that come from good teaching and the enactment of educational values, but also for the sake of their students. 
Maggie Gregson is a Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (SUNCETT) at the University of Sunderland. Prior to her role Sunderland she was a Director of the School of Access Studies and Teacher Educator in the Further, Adult and Vocational Education (FAVE) sector. Her research and publication interests include the role of enquiry in pedagogy, personal and interpersonal models of reflection and professional learning and Joint Practice Development (JPD).

Network: Technical, Professional and Vocational Higher Education
Date: Thursday, 06 November 2014
Times: 12.30 - 15.45
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier St, London N1 9BE
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