Teaching Higher Education Courses in Further Education Colleges


Jonathan Tummons, Kevin Orr & Liz Atkins

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    About the Authors

    Dr Liz Atkins is a Lecturer and Researcher in Education at the University of Huddersfield. She has taught extensively in both further and higher education on both vocational and teacher education programmes and has also managed provision in which university programmes were taught in FE colleges. She has published widely on issues associated with vocational education and training. Her most recent book, written with Professor Susan Wallace, is Qualitative Research in Education (SAGE).

    Dr Kevin Orr worked in further education colleges for 16 years before becoming a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Huddersfield in 2006. Aside from teaching on a variety of courses, his research interests lie primarily in vocational and further education. Since 2008 he has been co-convenor of the British Educational Research Association's special interest group for post-compulsory and lifelong learning.

    Dr Jonathan Tummons worked in further and adult education before moving into higher education. After four years at Teesside University, he has now taken up a post as Lecturer in Education at Durham University. He has researched and published widely on a range of issue relating to learning, teaching and assessment in further and higher education. He is the author of, amongst other books and articles, Assessing Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Curriculum Studies in the Lifelong Learning Sector, and Becoming a Professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector, all published by SAGE/ Learning Matters.


    We would like to thank all of the FE colleagues we have had the privilege of working with during our respective careers in both the further and higher education sectors. We would also like to thank the students we have met, taught, worked alongside and learned with and from, who have undertaken FE in HE and whose experience is the focus of this book.


    Further education (FE) colleges have long been involved in the provision of higher-level programmes of study, but over recent years – and particularly since incorporation – this has expanded. The provision of higher education (HE) courses within FE colleges constitutes a significant aspect of current moves to expand participation in HE more generally. Over recent years, an increasing number of universities have begun to work with FE colleges in order to offer degree-level education. The scale of provision is considerable: degrees, foundation degrees and certificates are available in an increasing number of subject areas. For staff working in FE colleges, HE in FE provision represents a significant moment of personal and professional development, raising new challenges in terms of teaching and learning strategies, assessment practices and quality assurance systems. In writing this book, we provide an up-to-date account of the key debates and issues that surround the provision of HE courses in FE colleges. This is an account that rests on wider research and scholarship, our own research as academics with an interest in HE in FE, and our own current and past experience as practitioners, both in colleges and in universities.

    Each of the chapters in this book has been written so that it stands alone: in this way, the reader can elect either to dip in to the text in order to explore particular key themes, or to read the book from cover to cover. A number of pedagogic activities are included in the text. For the reader who wises to pursue these themes in more depth, references appear at the end of each chapter.

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