Orr, Kevin (2012) The end of ‘strategic compliance’? The impact of performativity on teachers in the English Further Education sector. In: Performativity in the UK Education System: Theory, Policy and Practice. E and E Publishing, London, UK, pp. 199-216. ISBN 9780956900715

Further Education (FE) in England is a sector of education that is ‘fascinating, turbulent, insecure but desperately important’ (Coffield et al 2008, p. 4), which has over three million students. Kennedy (1997, p. 1) described it as what is not school and not university, though even those boundaries are porous. It remains, though, a heterogeneous sector where the majority of vocational training and adult education occurs, as well as academic study between the ages of 16 and 19. Its intake is predominantly working class (Avis, 2009). Keep (2006) described how the former New Labour government (1997-2007) treated FE like ‘the biggest train set in the world’ with their constant initiatives and more than any other sector of English education FE has been subject to control, compulsion and codification from the centre. While the professional standards for Higher Education in England are set out in a four-page booklet, the professional standards for FE amount to forty pages. Since 2001 there have been two acts of parliament directly pertaining to the sector and more than ten government departments or agencies, which were often very short-lived, have had statutory involvement in the sector. Much of the content and even the means of assessment of initial teacher education (ITE) courses for FE is mandatory as is, for example, the requirement for FE teachers to record thirty hours of continuing professional development each year in order to maintain their licence to practise. The implementation of these initiatives has involved a performative system of inspections and targets with which teachers must comply, well beyond even what is expected in schools or universities.

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