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Learners in the English Learning and Skills Sector: the implications of half-right policy assumptions

Hodgson, Ann and Steer, Richard and Spours, Ken and Edward, Sheila and Coffield, Frank and Finlay, Ian and Gregson, Maggie (2007) Learners in the English Learning and Skills Sector: the implications of half-right policy assumptions. Oxford Review of Education, 33 (3). pp. 315-330. ISSN 0305-4985

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Abstract

The English Learning and Skills Sector (LSS) contains a highly diverse range of learners and covers all aspects of post-16 learning with the exception of higher education. In the research on which this paper is based we are concerned with the effects of policy on three types of learners – unemployed adults attempting to improve their basic skills in community learning settings, younger learners on Level 1 and 2 courses in further education colleges and employees in basic skills provision in the workplace. What is distinctive about all three groups is that they have historically failed in, or been failed by, compulsory education. What is interesting is that they are constructed as 'problem learners' in learning and skills sector policy documents. We use data from 194 learner interviews, conducted during 2004/5, in 24 learning sites in London and the North East of England, to argue that government policy assumptions about these learners may only be 'half right'. We argue that such assumptions might be leading to half-right policy based on incomplete understandings or surface views of learner needs that are more politically constructed than real. We suggest that policy makers should focus more on systemic problems in the learning and skills sector and less on problematising groups of learners.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: a. Policy in post-16 education and training b. Analysis of policy documents and data from qualitative interviews with learners in 24 sites of learning in London and the North East of England c. Examination of policy assumptions in recent post-16 education policy d. - e. Based upon 3 ½ year TLRP Project Impact of Policy on Learning and Inclusion in the Learning and Skills Sector f. Refereed by two reviewers for the Oxford Review of Education g. 15% contribution This is an electronic version of an article published in Hodgson, Ann and Steer, Richard and Spours, Ken and Edward, Sheila and Coffield, Frank and Finlay, Ian and Gregson, Maggie (2007) Learners in the English Learning and Skills Sector: the implications of half-right policy assumptions. Oxford Review of Education, 33 (3). pp. 315-330. Oxford Review of Education is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/03054980701324677
Controlled Keywords: Learning and teaching in further/higher education , Public policy analysis
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Education and International Development
IOE Departments > Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2010 14:38
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 11:54
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