Partnership as cultural practice: forging a Higher and Further Education alliance in the face of neo-liberal reform.

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    This article examines the nature of an on-going educational partnership between a Higher Education institution and a number of Further Education (FE) colleges in the West Midlands region of England, forged against the backdrop of sectoral marketisation and neoliberal reform. The partnership originates in the organisation and administration of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses for FE student-teachers across a range of sites. These collaborative ITE programmes prepare students to teach in FE settings and conceptualise the FE teacher as a critically informed practitioner, equipped to engage with research and knowledge production practices in the sector. The permeable grouping of teacher educators that has emerged identifies itself as a ?community of practice? and uses this concept in the development of a pattern of cultural interaction that scaffolds the continuing professional development of practitioners across the region. This article outlines the underpinning values of the Higher Education (HE)/FE partnership and explores how the partnership has responded to the neoliberal policyscape. Through a number of examples, the authors illustrate how this community seeks to translate shared beliefs into everyday practice, not least through a critical and participatory approach to practitioner research activities which challenges the performative practices that have come to dominate FE in England.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)174-192
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Educational Administration and History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 13 Oct 2014


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