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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Further education in the UK: lessons from the governance of colleges in Scotland

Watson, Cate, Husband, Gary and Young, Helen (2020) Further education in the UK: lessons from the governance of colleges in Scotland. Journal of Education and Work, 33 (2). pp. 129-142. ISSN 1469-9435

Item Type: Article


Further education policy across the UK has diverged significantly over the last decade. While in both countries colleges have been subject to a programme of restructuring and rationalisation, Scotland now has a largely ‘nationalised’ sector while England has adopted a more market-led approach which has been characterised in some quarters as a ‘free for all’. However, there are some signs that England is starting to turn away from this stance and it is, therefore, instructive to examine the influence of policy on the Scottish sector, particularly as England embarks on a programme of devolution to the regions. This paper draws on policy documents and interviews with key policy actors to examine the ‘Scottish Approach’ to policy and the effects of this on the performance of the sector. While this has undoubtedly resulted in a more coherent system it is argued that colleges have paid a price for this, foregoing much of their previous autonomy. Moreover, it is not clear that the approach has addressed the ‘skills gap’ as currently perceived. It is concluded that much can be learned by greater engagement across the border, informed by a clearer understanding of how policy contexts impact on the leadership and governance of colleges.

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Depositing User: Gary Husband


Item ID: 15364
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ISSN: 1469-9435
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ORCID for Gary Husband: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2022 09:45
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 09:45


Author: Gary Husband ORCID iD
Author: Cate Watson
Author: Helen Young

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society


Education > Further Education

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