Challenging students in Further Education: themes arising from a study of innovative FE provision for excluded and disaffected young people
Attwood, G., Croll, P. and Hamilton, J. (2004) Challenging students in Further Education: themes arising from a study of innovative FE provision for excluded and disaffected young people. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28 (1). pp. 107-119. ISSN 0309-877X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/0309877032000161850
The paper draws on a research project on innovative provision in an FE college for excluded and disaffected young people. The college offers places on vocational courses to students who are still of compulsory school age who have been excluded by or have persistently failed to attend or achieve in school. One set of themes to emerge relates to the experiences of the students: the role of personal relationships and, especially, relationships with teachers, in the breakdown of school placements; the importance both of good relationships with tutors, often expressed as 'being treated like an adult', and of a vocational and practical curriculum in successful re-engagement at college; and positive but highly instrumental and employment related attitudes to education. Another set of themes relates to the practical and organisational difficulties and the way that a lack of flexibility in 14-19 provision, especially while students are still of compulsory school age, creates difficulties for programmes of this kind. Finally the paper considers the tensions between pressures for accountability and outcome-driven measures and the aims of increasing participation and using education to address issues of social inclusion.