Creativity in a Cold Climate: Teaching and Learning in the English Further Education Sector

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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
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
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Ron Thompson

Principal Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield
Huddersfield, Yorkshire, UK

Currently Head of Division of In-Service Teacher Education in the Department of Post-Compulsory Education and Training at Huddersfield University. Main teaching responsibilities include the training of teachers in the compulsory and non-compulsory sectors. Previous posts teaching mathematics and education in colleges and universities in the UK. Research interests include further education policy in England, social class and further education, and mathematical education.

Robin Simmons

Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield
Huddersfield, Yorkshire, UK

Currently Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education in the Department of Post-Compulsory Education and Training at Huddersfield University. Main teaching responsibilities include the training of teachers in the post-compulsory sectors and teaching sociology. Previous posts managing and teaching in colleges and universities in the UK. Research interests include further education policy in England, social class and further education, and the history of further education.

Ref: L08P0254