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How policy impacts on practice and how practice does not impact on policy

By Frank Coffield, Sheila Edward, Ian Finlay, Ann Hodgson, Ken Spours and Richard Steer

Abstract

Our project attempts to understand how the Learning and Skills Sector functions. It traces how education and training policy percolates down through many levels in the English system and how these levels interact, or fail to interact. Our first focus is upon how policy impacts upon the interests of three groups of learners: unemployed people in adult and community learning centres, adult employees in work-based learning and younger learners on Level 1 and Level 2 courses in further education. Our next focus is upon how professionals in these three settings struggle to cope with two sets of pressures upon them: those exerted by government and a broader set of professional, institutional and local factors. We describe in particular how managers and tutors mediate national policy and translate it (and sometimes mistranslate it) into local plans and practices. Finally we criticise the new government model of public service reform for failing to harness the knowledge, good will and energy of staff working in the sector, and for ignoring what constitutes the main finding of our research: the central importance of the relationship between tutor and students

Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1080/01411920701582363
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:1499

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