Fisher, Roy (2010) Management, measurement and cultural change in the English further education college: 1963-1993. Education, Knowledge and Economy, 4 (2). pp. 119-130. ISSN 1749-6896

Further education (FE) colleges in England were statutorily 'cut free' from local education authority (LEA) control in 1992. This article, however, primarily considers changes within FE in the 30 years before this 'incorporation' of FE colleges, as well as debates that followed. It argues that the post-1992 changes were immanent in economic and social forces that had coalesced during the 1970s. FE and LEA relations altered decisively during the 1960s with the LEA grip on colleges slipping, and most principals were powerful figures by the end of that decade with colleges generally having developed significant administrative systems. During the 1980s performance indicators began to drive the educational process as quality assurance approaches derived from industry took grip. These were accompanied by a marketing approach that primed the colleges for competition. There was, by the mid-1980s, an established culture of managerialism and performativity that permeated FE. The post-incorporation years would witness diminishing democracy, intensified staff contracts and deteriorating industrial relations. Incorporation constituted an important constitutional change, but the process and the subsequent transitions represented a clear continuum, not a revolution.

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