Creativity in a Cold Climate: Teaching and Learning in the English Further Education Sector
The education policy of successive UK governments has prioritised the further education (FE) sector as a means of promoting social cohesion and economic competitiveness. However, FE in England - a sector analogous to the US Community Colleges and TAFE in Australia - is increasingly subject to a set of contradictory forces arising from the quasi-market reforms of the 1980s and1990s and, over the past decade, a growing culture of performativity developed by New Labour to channel the marketised sector in directions desired by government. This paper discusses a specific aspect of these contradictory forces: the tension between government aspirations to develop citizens suited to a ‘knowledge economy’ by embedding creativity within teaching and learning, and the impoverished educational culture of FE that has resulted from the forces of marketisation and performativity which have been imposed upon the sector. Drawing on a range of empirical studies and policy analyses, we argue that such tensions make meaningful creativity difficult to achieve. It is argued that within the performative context of English FE, attempts to interpret official discourse on creativity only serve to reproduce and exacerbate existing inequalities in education.
Keywords: Creativity, England, Further Education
Principal Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield
Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield