Thompson, Ron (2011) Further Education and Social Inclusion under New Labour. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
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This investigation analyses the production and reproduction of class-based social inequality within the Further Education and Skills system in England, with a particular focus on the years of Labour government following the 1997 General Election. New Labour policy on further education (FE) continually emphasised the importance of reforming the sector for a dual role: contributing to UK economic competitiveness by expanding the skills base; and promoting social inclusion by integrating vulnerable people into job markets and society more broadly. The published work submitted here investigates how this 'reform agenda' unfolded in three key aspects of FE provision, and examines the ways in which inequality continued to be produced and reproduced, in spite of the proposed key role for FE in social inclusion. The aspects considered are the training and workplace development of FE teachers, the rehabilitation of creativity within discourses of knowledge economy and social cohesion, and programmes for young people at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). In addition to the published work, a commentary outlines the context and main arguments of each paper, explains my contribution to the three co-authored publications and discusses the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the investigation. The commentary concludes by discussing the overall contribution to knowledge of the work and its theoretical significance.
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