Fisher, Roy (1999) The vocational curriculum in England 1974-1994 : a socio-historical study of the Business and Technology Education Council's National Diploma in Business and Finance. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The BEC/BTEC National Diploma in Business and Finance was, from the late
1970s to the mid 1990s, a major vocational award in England, Wales and
Northern Ireland. Although the majority of BEC/BTEC students were located
in the further education colleges within the somewhat marginalised postcompulsory
sector, the BEC/BTEC National level curriculum was directly
experienced by hundreds of thousands of students as well as their lecturers,
and indirectly by a range of educational stakeholders including employers
and university tutors coming into contact with former BEC/BTEC students.
Having transformed the rhetoric and substantially altered pedagogic practices
within further education the BTEC National Diploma was beginning to
establish an identity when it was, in effect, superceded by the Advanced
GNVQ in Business. Notwithstanding the significance of BEC/BTEC as a
major awarding body the associated curriculum attracted relatively little
interest from researchers, receiving only a fraction of the attention which has
been attracted by the more recent NVQs and GNVQs. This study is primarily
a curriculum history which aims to provide an account of a curriculum which
was conceived and implemented at a time before policy makers had come to
recognise the value of the post-compulsory sector as an engine for potentially
improving national economic performance, and as a catalyst for the creation
of a culture of life-long learning. The study attempts to theoretically
contextualise the BEC/BTEC curriculum as an important instance of
vocationalism. Ideas drawn from Gramsci, Althusser, Foucault and Lyotard
are utilised in order to provide a critical but multi-perspectival analytical
framework. The study incorporates an outline discussion of vocationalism in
England; an account of the genesis and development of BEC/BTEC as an
institution; an overview of various versions (or "generations") of the
BEC/BTEC National curriculum as well as those which have superceded it
(using course specifications and associated documents); and presents
perceptions of the BEC/BTEC National curriculum drawn from a
questionnaire survey and interviews. The BEC/BTEC National curriculum is
seen as an innovatory curriculum which, for many students, presented
important opportunities to progress. It is suggested, however, that ideological
assumptions implicit in the model of vocationalism as operationalised in late
Twentieth Century capitalism have necessarily emasculated the critical
potential and intellectual integrity of vocational education and training in

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