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The Impact of Widening Participation on Further Education Settings in England

Wolstencroft, P and Darnell, J (2022) The Impact of Widening Participation on Further Education Settings in England. In: McCaig, R, Rainford, J and Squire, R, (eds.) The Business of Widening Participation Policy, Practice and Culture. Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 147-165. ISBN 9781800430501

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Historically, the Further Education (FE) sector has always occupied the hinterland between the policy-heavy landscape that characterises the compulsory education sector and the fiercely independent Higher Education sector. Originally formed to give those who had not fully benefitted from their school education the opportunity to learn new skills and to be given a ‘second chance’, it gradually evolved into something that encompassed a far wider purpose of widening participation in education and also the promotion of social mobility. Because of this, the educational imperative has always featured strongly within the sector.

Recently this has been challenged by a shift to a more market-based approach that stresses neoliberalism, competition between providers and an economic imperative which can conflict with the original aims of the sector.

The sector has also increasingly been used to deliver government priorities, and given the quixotic nature of much of education policy, this has meant that the sector is required to be agile and responsive to a multitude of challenges. The colleges used as the two case studies in this chapter show that while it is important to ensure that the external metrics are met, if funding is available, then it is still possible to balance the educational imperative with the economic imperative with clear leadership and a strict focus on the college’s vision for their role within the sector. This means that the widening participation agenda can still be met, even if numerous barriers are put in the way.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Divisions: Business & Management (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2022 11:45
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2022 13:04
DOI or ID number: 10.1108/9781800430495
Editors: McCaig, R, Rainford, J and Squire, R
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17796
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