Orr, Kevin (2014) Higher Education in Further Education and its impact on social mobility in England. In: Society for Research in Higher Education, Post-Compulsory and Higher Education Network, 6th November 2014, SRHE, London, UK. (Unpublished)

Further Education (FE) institutions in England have been providing a variety of higher education (HE) courses for decades. Despite the more recent expansion of HE in England, however, the proportion of those studying HE in FE colleges has remained curiously stable at around ten per cent of all HE students. This paper sets out to investigate why the proportion of college-based HE has remained so stable by setting this extremely diverse provision within its wider social and economic context. In so doing, this study reveals an important aspect of the increasing differentiation of the HE sector in this country. The paper examines secondary statistical data on HE students in FE colleges, including the type of course they are taking and their consequent destinations, to question if HE in FE provides “An engine for widening participation and social mobility” as claimed by the Policy Exchange think tank.


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