Further Education and Local Economic Development

This is a presentation that I gave last week at the annual Teaching and Learning Conference at Thanet College in Kent, UK.

In my talk, I explored some of the language currently being used by the Government and by OFSTED when they make links between further education and local economic development.  As with much current policy rhetoric in the UK, there are a number of ambiguities in the Government’s views about the future role of FE in local economies and I picked out a couple of these as a way of encouraging the College to think about how it could start to set its own agenda for achieving an ‘excellent’ OFSTED assessment.  In particular, I noted how the culture-led regeneration of Margate and the new Enterprise Zone for East Kent show that the future of local skills development will be in the knowledge economy, meaning that across all areas of the curriculum, teaching and learning should be developing students’ creativity, collaborative skills and flexibility.

I spent half the day at Thanet College and it was a great insight into the current state of Further Education – I learnt a lot from some brief conversations with colleagues there and heard about some fantastic work that is being done.  In particular, it was exciting to hear about how a shift to a student-led, creative curriculum in one subject area had dramatically improved student retention and achievement.

 

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