By Anthony Hudson
As the forward to a new publication: HE in FE Partner Perspectives notes: [the recent Higher Education] “…White Paper presages an expansionist era in the relationship between the delivery or provision of higher education and the location of that education.” How fast the movement from the margins to the mainstream will be is difficult to say – more likely a marathon than a sprint. However at long last there is recognition of the distinctive mission of FE colleges in delivering HE which is relevant to the communities they serve. Whilst FE colleges have an important role to play in widening participation to higher education -providing opportunities for non-traditionally qualified learners – to study a wide range of academic and vocational courses they deliver also high quality niche courses which are designed and developed through close links with local employers and industry.
As Tony Hudson notes in his article: HE in FE – What is the research telling us? “HE in FE is far from homogenous and the scale of provision belies its complexity in terms of funding and diversity in terms of provision and participants.” To date research on HE in FE is uneven in terms of coverage and often small scale making it difficult to generalise and draw comparisons. If, as seems likely, provision expands then we need to invest in research to develop evidence-informed policy and practice.
Published by the Linking London Lifelong Learning Network the publication includes a range of contributions on research and policy from a national perspective as well as the view of providers in London. Click on this link to download a copy of the publication.