Righting FE’s wrongs


http://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/righting-fes-wrongs

Righting FE’s wrongs
Friday, 19 June 2015 09:49 This week 800 years ago the barons rose in rebellion against the autocratic rule of King John, who at sword point agreed to Magna Carta. The anniversary was marked publicly by both the Queen and the Prime Minister, and you could be forgiven for missing the radical shift in power that the Magna Carta represented in these celebrations. But the tensions within the State eight centuries ago reflect the need for a new settlement of powers between politicians and practitioners in FE now. Education should not be the personal fiefdom of education ministers; and we must not forget that government officials considered axing all FE provision under the ConDems.

To mark Magna Carta’s anniversary Tutor Voices, the new democratic association for Further, Adult, Community and Skills educators, have published A Bill of Rights for professional educators in FE and Skills. The Bill of Rights should be seen in the context of a wider struggle to reclaim a national system of education for us all – students, parents, employers, educators and local communities. Following the announcement of a 24% cut to the adult education budget in England before the General Election a major campaign to save FE was launched by sector trade unions and sector bodies. Of course the threat to FE appears to be even graver under the new government: a petition with over 42,000 signatures opposing the cuts to FE will be presented in the coming weeks, and this week FE staff and students lobbied politicians in the new Parliament in defence of FE.
In the aftermath of the general election Eddie Playfair argues that we need to start from first principles, remind ourselves what we think education is for, and be clear about our values of “equality, democracy, solidarity, education for human progress and human flourishing.” We also need to better articulate the value of FE in terms of both social justice and economic prosperity. In Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses we argue that the dreary deficit metaphor for FE as Cinderella waiting for her Prince (a benign Secretary of State, or a government that finally recognises the value of FE) must be challenged. Geoff Petty, exploring another fairy tale metaphor, argues that “it’s time we shouted our own praises as no-one else will. We are the goose that lays the golden egg and its time we got our fair share of funding.” Of course in the fairy tale the farmer who owns the magical goose eviscerates it to learn its alchemical secret – the task of raising FE’s profile and celebrating its impact is clearly urgent, and the 157 Group’s report The economic impact of further education colleges is timely.
The 10 rights and responsibilities articulated in the Bill of Rights seek to right some of FE’s wrongs for professional educators; but more importantly, they aim to enhance the learning of our students because the two are intimately connected: as the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign in the US succinctly puts it in its
Education Declaration to Rebuild America, “the working conditions of teachers are the learning conditions of students”.

Frank Coffield will be discussing the Bill of Rights at the ATL conference on Friday 10th July, and at the inaugural Tutor Voices conference in Northern College on 26th September. If you agree with the ideas expressed, join us in our campaign for change by contacting us via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Joel Petrie is the advanced lecturer for HE in the City of Liverpool College, and a founding member of Tutor Voices

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About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for www.3aaa.co.uk where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

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