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Page 1: Welcome to East Riding College’s
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Journal of Research and Scholarly Activity 2015-2016 2


Welcome to East Riding College’s fourth edition of the Journal of Research and Scholarly Activity (RSA). This journal, published every year, showcases examples of research and scholarly activity which staff and students have participated in, particularly on Higher Education programmes at East Riding College.

Staff are supported to complete RSA projects as part of the curriculum and Staff Development projects fund. There are some excellent examples of RSA projects within the College and a variety of papers including seminar papers from staff competing Cert Ed and PGCEs.

Any staff and students who would like to submit a paper for this journal in the future can do so through the editors, Paul Smith and John Uzzell. All submissions are carefully considered although it may be necessary to edit papers to a maximum 3000 words. The complete papers are available from the College Quality and Teaching Standards Unit (QTSU). The journal is also available on the College’s website and shared with partner universities and colleges.

Please take the opportunity to read the following papers in this edition which are both informative and thought provoking.

Congratulations to all the staff and students who have contributed to this third edition of the Journal.

Paul Smith and John Uzzell (Editors) February 2016

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Title Author Page

1. The development of teaching strategies for the effective delivery of one element of preparing and maintaining environments for early years settings

Jane Rodley Early Years and Care Tutor at East Riding College

4 - 8

2. Literature Review - Evolution of Apprenticeships within the context of national vocational education programmes in England from 1945 to 2010

Mel Raven – BA Hons in Education and Professional Development at East Riding College Introduction

9 - 14

3. Reflective Essay on an Autobiography – Dave Spikey

Louisa Westmoreland – FD in Learning Support at East Riding College

15 - 27

4. Cognitive Theories into Practice: Introducing Effective Strategies & Structure to an Audio Production Learner with Cerebral Palsy

Phil Owst – Media and Music Course Leader and Music Academy Manager at East Riding College

28 - 36

5. Critically Discuss How Childhood And Youth Research Builds On A Series Of Values, Beliefs And Images About Children And Young People

Tracey Herridge – Curriculum Leader in Early Years and Care at East Riding College

37 - 43

6. Understanding Part Time College Higher Education

Dr Arti Saraswat and Anthony Hudson – Researchers at London: Association of Colleges with Dr Anne Thompson, Independent Researcher

44 - 49

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The development of teaching strategies for the effective delivery of one

element of preparing and maintaining environments for early years


Jane Rodley

Early Years and Care Tutor at East Riding College


The rationale for this paper is to improve the delivery and student participation for teaching the

group about creating displays and their importance in early years settings. Bulman and Savory

(2006) reinforce the importance of displays by stating that high quality, engaging displays play a

vital role in creating a positive atmosphere in child care settings. Therefore it is important for

students to understand the importance and be able to create high quality displays.

Having delivered this element last year it was evident that students did not engage with the topic

and as a result motivation was low. Three hours were allotted to creating the display but results

from both groups of students were poor (see Appendix 1).

Reflection following summative assessment, and subsequently for this paper, led me to evaluate

how the subject had been taught and to consider more appropriate teaching strategies. The aim of

this paper is to research and develop more engaging strategies to teach this element and in turn to

motivate and inspire students. It is also intend to ensure that students fully appreciate the role that

displays can play in enhancing children’s experiences and learning in early years settings. It is

further hoped that students will produce thoughtful and creative displays for summative


The subject I teach is the BTEC Children’s Care, Learning and Development (CCLD) at level 2. I

am employed at a college which is split across three sites although I am only situated at one site

located close to the centre of a town. There are ten students in the cohort aged between 16 and

19 years of age. Academic ability ranges from entry three up to GCSE and four students have

varying degrees of dyslexia.

The module outcomes I intent to cover are:

KU1 - Critically reviews key pedagogical principles and their implications for teaching and

learning in the specialist area.

KU2 - Critically analyses the theoretical concepts of innovation and creativity in teaching

and learning and their application to a particular specialist area.

A3 - Collaborates with other specialists to develop own professional practice.

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A4 - Applies appropriate teaching strategies and methods within the specialist area.

This will be achieved by researching and implementing teaching strategies aimed at improving

student motivation and participation, including more student-centred activities.

Finally, it is my intention to introduce a task as part of the assessment process in which each

student must produce a short written piece justifying their level of participation in the summative

assessment task. This is to prevent, as previously noted, an imbalance in the amount of work

produced for assignment criteria from some members during the creation of the displays which is a

small groups task. Race (2007) advocates the positive value of small group work in teaching as

this type of collaboration can lead to further learning taking place outside the classroom. However,

Race (2007) also discusses the importance of effective monitoring of such groups by the tutor to

ensure all students are contributing equally. This element of working as a member of a team is

especially important when students become part of a team of early years practitioners.

Critical Discussion

It became apparent during the delivery of this topic that students lacked motivation and were not

engaging with the subject. Reece and Walker (2006) state that the motivation and interest level of

learners can be improved with an appropriate choice of teaching strategies. Having examined the

teaching strategies used to deliver this topic it was noted that they all involve low levels of student

participation according to Reece and Walker (2006). Although student’s motivation is a key

pedagogical principle for vocational courses it is vital that students feel they can relate the topics to

their role as practitioners. This is reinforced by Curzon (2000) who states that students have to

perceive the content as being relevant to them. This could further explain the students’ lack of

engagement as not being included in the creation of displays in their placement settings, they

cannot appreciate fully the relevance of them in their role as trainee child care practitioners. This is

reinforced by Maslow (1970) who cites a sense of personal responsibility as being an important

motivating factor.

I looked at a selection of teaching strategies and evaluated them with reference to the published

levels of student participation according to Reece and Walker (2006). Re-examining these

strategies enabled me to focus on more appropriate and engaging methods. This led me to

consider collaborating with a colleague who, as part of the course she teaches, motivates her

students to produce eye-catching displays. This strategy is reinforced by Reece and Walker

(2006) who consider that more positive results are achieved when students have more than one

tutor. Curzon simplifies this concept further by stating “two heads are better than one” (2006:347).

Acknowledging limitations in my expertise and collaborating with more experienced colleagues

ensures a more positive learning experience for students according to Curzon (2000).

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In order for the students to achieve higher grades for this element of the course it is vital that

strategies are introduced to increase their level of motivation and engagement. This in turn would

help students to secure a higher overall grading for the course which would facilitate progression

on to higher level courses or to gain employment in the child care sector.

As far as possible, and for all practical elements, I decided to utilise various student-led strategies.

Following a short discussion with the group it was noted that the majority of students paid little or

no attention to the displays situated around the campus or in their placements. One such activity

to engage students would involve evaluating the displays around the campus as well as those in

their placement settings. Students would be encouraged once the displays were evaluated, to

enter into discussions around which displays they liked or disliked and why. If photographs were

available students could vote on their personal favourites. These strategies replace previous

classroom based, tutor-led sessions with more student-centred learning. This puts the student at

the centre of their learning experience which enables them to develop their own understanding of

the impact of quality displays in early years settings and perhaps more importantly reach the

Gestalt moment with minimal input from tutors (King and Wertheimer, 2007).

I also decided to adopt a more creative approach by introducing the use of feely bags or treasure

baskets to encourage learners to use their senses. This is important as the assignment criteria

states that the display should promote children’s use of their senses. There is also a section in

which students must justify the way children’s senses could be used positively in encouraging their

interest and participation in the learning environment. To further develop and build on this the

students would be encouraged to participate in tasting and smelling activities. I felt that this was

important as the completed displays had to include the use of the senses which can easily be

overlooked in classroom-based sessions. Tassoni (2008) advocates the use of treasure baskets to

stimulate young children to explore and investigate the objects using all five senses. This concept

can be introduced to early years students and expanded to include how displays can be used to

promote the use of children’s senses which is an intrinsic part of the criteria for this topic.

I also recognised the importance of the vocational element of the course. As each student attends

placement on alternate weeks this could provide opportunities for activities based in the settings.

Kolb (1984) defines learning as an ongoing process that is reliant on experience. An example

could be to choose one or two displays and write about positive and negative points, if the children

engage with them and how they could be improved. The students would also consider displays that

would link to current themes or topics at the setting and also how displays are used to stimulate

children’s interest. Also, as this is a creative activity I could include how students could engage

with the children and get their assistance with creating a display in the setting. The Early Years

Foundation Stage (2012) states that, early years practitioners must support children’s efforts and

encourage them to be independent. This would also link theory to practice and promote the self-

esteem of the children in the child care setting.

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It is important that students understand that displays are not only used to enhance the children’s

interests in specific topics. Displays can be utilised as stimulating resources throughout all areas

of the EYFS (2012). For example they can be used to promote equality and diversity and inclusive

practice by displaying greetings in different languages for understanding communication and

language. They can also be used to encourage the exploration of new objects. The EYFS states

that “children will become more deeply involved when you provide something that is new and

unusual for them to explore” (2012:6). Furthermore displays of family, pets or special people can

be used to help children settle and overcome attachment issues.

However, as with any new topic there was still an element of theory which needed to be covered to

introduce the session and to provide information that students could refer back to when compiling

evidence for assessment. A power point presentation would, therefore, be used to provide minimal

background information and to introduce activities. It would also, as usual, be made available on

the college VLE for future reference.

Having recently introduced an element of peer assessment into my teaching and assessing

strategies I believe this could be effectively utilised when students are planning and creating the

displays. By encouraging them to evaluate their peers’ work it will, in turn, lead to them examining

their own efforts hopefully with a view to making improvements as they progress. Heron (1989)

stated the importance of action and practice in creating more positive learning experiences. This

would again highlight the need to, as far as possible, take learning out of the traditional classroom

based sessions for this topic and utilise the students’ practical experience in placement.


As well as addressing the issue of motivating my students to be more engaged in the creation of

displays it was also vital that they develop an appreciation of the importance of displays in early

years settings. Furthermore it was also important for me to develop more innovative and creative

strategies for teaching this topic, and potentially, other areas of the CCLD curriculum.

Following this research I have broadened my range of teaching strategies to include more

innovative and creative methods which have enabled students to benefit from more practical

activities and less tutor-led classroom based sessions.

Although the link between theory and practice has always been a strong element in the delivery of

the CCLD course, this paper has enabled me to encourage the students to appreciate that the

theory based sessions will have a greater significance once they are employed in the early years

sector. For others, it has given them the motivation to progress on to a level 3 course to further

their knowledge.

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Due to the planning of the curriculum and assessment programmes it has not been possible to

complete the teaching of this topic prior to submission of this paper. However, the research

undertaken has enabled me to identify strategies that, having been used to deliver other aspects of

the course, have been more positively received by the student cohort.


Bulman, K. and Savory, L. (2006) Children’s Care, Learning and Development. Essex: Heinemann

Curzon, L. (1997). Teaching in Further Education: An Outline of Principles and Practice (5th ed.).

London: Continuum

Department of Education. (2012). Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

London: HMSO

Heron, J. (1989) The Facilitator’s Handbook. London: Kogan Page

King, D., and Wertheimer, M. (2007). Max Weirtheimer and Gestalt Theory. New Jersey:


Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning – Experience as a Source of Learning and Development.

New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Maslow, A.H. (1970) Motivation and Personality (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Collins

Race, P. (2007) The Lecturer’s Toolkit; A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching (3rd

ed.). London: Routledge

Reece, I. and Walker, S. (2006) Teaching, Training and Learning: A practical guide (6th ed.).

Sunderland: Business Education Publishers Ltd.

Tassoni, P. (2008) Practical EYFS Handbook. Essex: Heinemann

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Literature Review - Evolution of Apprenticeships within the context of national vocational education programmes in England from 1945 to


Mel Raven – BA Hons in Education and Professional Development at East Riding College Introduction Introduction

Boote and Biele (2005), state that the purpose of a literature review is to evaluate the literature

related to the area of study, which will provide a theoretical basis and also enable determination of

what the research could focus on. This literature review will analyse a selection of literature related

to policies of Conservative, Labour, New Labour and Coalition governments since 1945, referring

specifically to England.

Conservative Party Policies

The Conservative party has traditionally been the party of business and trade, looking to free

choice and market forces to inform policy decisions (Gillard, 2011). Conservatism looks to maintain

traditional institutions and practices in order to maintain social order (Encyclopaedia Britannica,

2015), which is an Elitist ideology (Mufti, 2009). The first post-war Conservative government

formed in 1951, and the party stayed in power until 1964. Educational policy in this time was

closely related to the policies set out by the wartime coalition and National governments in the

early to mid-1940s, and the post-war consensus reached between all political parties was

continued by these consecutive Conservative governments. These governments oversaw an

educational expansion, with the building of around 6000 new schools and 11 universities, and the

introduction of Colleges of Advanced Technology in 1956. Royle (1987) notes that these

technological colleges were brought in to enable Britain to improve workforce skills to enable

competitiveness in the world economy, but that they did not achieve this as fully as possible due to

a perceived need to also deliver humanities and other non-technological subjects in order to meet

demand; there were less people who wanted to complete technological subjects, perhaps due to

societal perceptions.

The Conservative government of 1970 ushered in the age of universal secondary education for all,

by increasing the school leaving age to 16 in 1972; Mufti (2009) states that this could have

conflicted with their ideology, but they did it anyway. Lowe (1989) states that it was during the

1960’s that conservative educational policy shifted towards the comprehensive system.

Conservative policy started to change again with the Thatcherite neo-liberalist era from 1979 to

1991. Kaseem et al (2006) define the neo-liberalist ideology as being one of marketization, choice,

diversity and competition, with high levels of state control. This agrees with Gamble’s (1988)

assertion that ‘liberal democracies tend to develop along the lines of the strong state and free

economy’, which Whitty (2008) concurs with when he states that the Thatcher government looked

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to reduce public expenditure and apply market choice to education. Taylor (1988) states that

critics of the Government declared that state education had been deliberately run down in order to

boost independent education and the public school system. Gillard (2011) and Whitty both agree

that the Thatcher era of government brought education under State control by centralising much of

it; the introduction of a National Curriculum, rigorous inspections, structural reform, and competition

among schools and colleges, all made English education an entity based in the market place as

opposed to being a public service. The defining Act of this period was the 1988 Education Reform

Act, which gave 451 new powers to the Secretary of State; previously, State involvement in the day

to day running of education was minimal, with the only requirements being Religious Education

taught, and children prepared for exams at age 16 and 18. Avis (2007) states that the educational

policies of the Thatcherite era undermined the Technical and Vocational initiative, which prevented

the development of vocational education in order to meet skills gaps; the prescriptive educational

system as set out in the 1988 Act was at odds with the needs of the post-compulsory sector.

The Major years, from 1991 to 1997, followed the same marketization and centralisation policies of

his predecessor. His government introduced the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act, which

extended these policies to the post-compulsory education sectors as well. Gillard states that this

made post-compulsory educational establishments competitors in the market to attract students.

Hodgson and Spours (1999) also agree that this Act, and the 1991 White Paper Education and

Training for the 21st Century (HM Government, 1991) introduced market-orientated approaches to

post-compulsory education. Conservative policy for education during this government was

concerned with economic development and consumer-led approaches. Vocational education

qualification systems were reformed to give them uniformity and credibility (Hodgson and Spours,

1999), and Work-based learning was identified as needing recognition as an important element in

vocational further education. (Richardson et al, 1995). Richardson and Gumbley (1995) identify

that even though work-based learning was recognised as an important element, apprenticeships

declined and the work-based learning route was marginalised in favour of full time college courses

until the mid-1990’s; they were seen as a way to increase participation in education, so Modern

Apprenticeships were announced in 1993 (Richardson et al, 1995). Modern Apprenticeships were

sector based and not time served, and Steedman et al (1998) argue that work-based learning and

apprenticeships reduce the skills deficit more than full time education because they are directly

related to employer needs.

Labour Party Policies

The first Government to come into power post-war was that of the Labour party in 1945, which

heralded the start of the Social Democratic era of ’30 glorious years’. This government enacted

Butler’s 1944 Education Act, which introduced the tripartite system of schooling and enacted Local

Education Authorities (LEAs) to provide county colleges which would provide facilities for full and

part time further education. The Act could have enabled a classless secondary education system

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(Gillard, 2011) but Labour did not go that far; the Act mentioned three types of education – primary,

secondary and further – but these were not enacted in England and the tripartite secondary

schooling system was selected instead. Lowe (1989) identified that many Labour supporters

thought the Government did not go as far as it could have and actually was divisive; a new class

distinction was created in which all those who failed the 11 plus exam were seen as failures who

had to go to secondary modern schools. There were also a lack of places in some areas for those

who passed the 11 plus, so many who were capable of grammar school were unable to go; there

were only places at grammar and technical schools for 25% of all children in England (Royle,


The next Labour government did not come to power until 1964, by which time, Mufti (2009) states,

it identified much more with the Comprehensive schooling system and the Social Democracy

ideology of prompting equality and widening participation by eliminating elitism (Kaseem et al,

2006). The government of 1964 to 1970 was one which believed in modernisation through the

technical revolution, so preparing people for the workforce was an important factor in developing

education policy (Hodgson and Spours, 1999). This era saw the introduction of Industrial Training

Boards, which became responsible for training the workforce vocationally to meet the needs of

Industry and economic development; as well as providing the courses and apprenticeships, they

designed them so they met the needs of their industries (HM Government, 1964).

The Labour government of 1974 to 1979 oversaw what is seen as definite movement away from

the social democratic ideals of education (Whitty 2008, Chitty 1989 and Gillard 2011). Chitty cites

the School Education in England: Problems and Initiatives (1976), also known as the Yellow Book,

as being the catalyst for the changes that were to come in education. The Book stated that a lack

of discipline and too much freedom was allowed in classrooms, and also that influences outside of

school affected educational attainment. It may have been this report that prompted Callaghan’s

Ruskin speech of 1976, in which education was brought to the forefront of Government thinking.

Callaghan stated in his speech that industry was being let down by the education system,

producing people who were not well enough educated to enter the workforce. The Ruskin speech

started the Great Debate, in which education was put in the spotlight and discussed, and the

results of the debate paved the way for the centralisation of education (Ross, 2000, and Gillard,


Although the Labour party lost power during the 1980s and most of the 1990s, it was still involved

in trying to shape education policy; Hodgson and Spours (1999) note that Further Education was

neglected in the 1980’s especially, but that the Labour party pushed for the work-based learning

and apprentice systems to have a unified delivery system.

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New Labour Policies

New Labour, under the leadership of Tony Blair, came to power in 1997 with a landslide victory

and the promise of change for the country. New Labour’s attempt at Education policy was to find a

Third Way, in which they would find the middle ground between Conservative neo-liberalism and

Labour social democracy. Mufti identifies this as a Revisionist ideology, which is similar in many

ways to the neo-liberalism of the Conservative era but with injections of socialism. The New

Labour policy statement of 1998 stated that “The Government believes that the excessive

emphasis in the past on market competition has inhibited collaboration, and that strong

partnerships are now needed to develop efficient local strategies for learning” (DfEE, 1998).

Pearce and Hillman (1998) suggest that the Third Way is a position between “the dynamism of the

flexible markets of North America and the social regulation and inclusivity of Continental social

democratic models”, while Hodgson and Spours (1999) take the more common and down to earth

approach that it is a “..pragmatic response to historical legacies of both the Conservative

marketised era and Labour’s past corporatism and ‘tax and spend’ image.” Whitty (2008) disputes

this somewhat, his opinion being that the New Labour policies were merely a continuation of

Conservative policy, with further marketization and privatisation. He states that New Labour

demonstrates a significant move away from traditional Labour ideology. Mufti (2009) concurs with

Whitty’s (2008) opinion, stating that New Labour adopted the neo-liberal ideology of encouraging

market forces in education.

Hodgson and Spours (1999) state that New Labour inherited a compulsory schooling system which

was centralised and had many regulatory systems, whereas the post-compulsory sector had been

left to evolve over time with little regulation; in this respect, Hodgson and Spours (1999) argue,

New Labour could have steered the post-compulsory sector whichever way they chose. New

Labour chose to introduce more regulation to the post-compulsory sector, ostensibly to improve

economic success and increase social justice; they introduced compulsory teacher training for all

staff teaching in the post-compulsory sector, and moved Colleges under the umbrella of OfSTED

so inspections would be carried out to the same standards as schools (Avis, 2009). Coupled with

increased regulation, funding was increased for education with a 56% budget increase from 1997

to 2007; this was done to help industry and business, as opposed to an altruistic reason such as

improving social mobility, but social mobility and inclusion would be increased somewhat anyway

(Gillard, 2011).

New Labour put work-based learning as a priority in 2002, and introduced the idea of using

Apprenticeships as a way to encourage progression onto Higher Education (DfES, 2002).

Apprenticeships were marketed as being a pathway for everyone; a way for those who were

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disaffected at school to engage with education and gain a qualification, and also for those who are

academically good but want to develop work skills and go straight to a career. Avis (2002) states

that the reasoning is sound, but that the quality of apprenticeships was variable and was

sometimes poor; Unwin and Wellington (2001), and Wolf (2002) agree with this. The 2009

Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and learning Act introduced a statutory framework for

apprenticeships and centralised control of further education, and was introduced as a way to

improve the quality of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships and Further Education were now seen as

a way in which to give people the skills to get a job (Nuffield Foundation, 2008). The Guardian

(2009) published an article in which New Labour was accused of encouraging vocational

qualifications instead of academic qualifications such as GCSE’s, a response to all the policy

initiatives introduced since 2001 which championed vocational education for everyone aged 14 and

above (Gillard, 2011).

Coalition Government Policies

The Coalition Government came to power in 2010, and is an alliance between the Conservatives

and the Liberal Democrats. Hazell and Yong (2012) completed a study of the impact of a Coalition

government, in which they identified that instability, incoherent policy, weak decision making and

blurred accountability are all features of a Coalition. They refer to the 56% chance of Coalitions

failing due to inter-party conflict.

The Coalition policies were set out in the 2010 policy document ‘The Coalition: our programme for

government’, and education is low down on their list of priorities (being item 26 for schools and 31

for Further and Higher Education). Their priorities were to ensure that education prepares people

for working, and to remove colleges from direct state control (HM Government, 2010). There was

a definite move to make the secondary education system a marketplace which responded to

parental and market demands, with the creation of Academies which are state funded but run

independently by parents, teachers, charities and community groups. Gillard (2011) notes that the

Academies Act 2010 was supported by the Liberal Democrats and was passed with their votes in

parliament, even though this was the opposite of what they had set out in their 2009 manifesto

Equity and Excellence. Gillard (2011) goes on to state that the academy and free school system

was likely to do harm to English education and create a divisive system in which class and

affluence would affect the education of children; Chitty (2010) and Wiborg (2010) agree with this

view, both stating that inequality and segregation would become more widespread in schools.

There was a large cut in funding, affecting vocational programmes for 14-19 year olds, and the

emphasis moved to academic education for all with increased focus on examinations and tests at

all stages of compulsory education (Gillard, 2011).

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Further and Higher Education also faced cuts and changes; the tripling of tuition fees went against

everything the Liberal Democrats had said before the election, and Cohen (2010) highlights that

the Liberal Democrat submission to Conservative policy caused much discontent among their

supporters. The Educational Maintenance Allowance was also scrapped, which, Gillard argues,

affected the uptake of Further Education by disadvantaged youngsters. Mortimore (2010), in

Gillard (2011) identifies the tacit acceptance that education would become privatised with the

introduction of academies and more stringent funding controls, and goes on to state that the state

education system is collapsing. Ranson (2010) backs up this view by linking the neo-liberal

agenda of choice and competition in schools to the undermining of state education.


The literature review has brought up some somewhat surprising ideas; the movement of New

Labour so far away from original Labour party ideology was unexpected, and the vitriol with which

Coalition policy has been received is surprising; no one has anything positive to say about their


The remainder of this paper will look at participation in apprenticeships, focusing on the period

1993 to the present day; the reason for this is because Modern Apprenticeships in their current

form were introduced that year, so a fair comparison is more likely as figures will be of a more

comparable nature.

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Reflective Essay on an Autobiography – Dave Spikey

Louisa Westmoreland – FD in Learning Support at East Riding College This assignment is based upon the autobiography of actor, writer and director, Dave Spikey. Born

on 6 October 1951, he was christened David Bramwell, but for the purpose of this assignment and

for ease of referencing his book, he will be referred to by his stage name of Spikey. The main

focus of Spikey’s education and social influences was mostly during the 1950’s and 1960’s,

therefore while his experiences of learning and education will be very different by today’s

standards, comparisons will be drawn with modern education systems and social contexts. Firstly,

his home and family background will be examined to help the reader familiarise themselves with

the setting, before moving on to schooling. As Spikey continued to learn within his medical career

lasting many years, this assignment will only cover his education until approximately age eighteen,

due to word count restrictions.

Spikey was born in the industrial town of Bolton, Lancashire. Living there until the age of twelve,

he described his home as being “…a small terraced house amongst rows and rows of terraced

houses that surrounded the many cotton mills of the town” (Spikey, 2010:17). Complete with an

outside toilet and a tin bath, these were common features of such a house in the 1950s and at first

glance, it could be very much considered an average working-class home. Jackson and Marsden

discuss the homes of the working class during their 1962 research, published in the form of a book

entitled Education and the Working Class. In the revised 1969 edition, they noted the similar

homes which belonged to the ‘prosperous working-class families’ in Huddersfield (p60).

Huddersfield is approximately thirty miles from Bolton, giving a good comparison of location and

prosperity for this assignment. Whilst small in size, the owners of these homes appeared to be

proud of their houses. It is highly likely that this was achieved through hard-work from one or both

parents. However, the idea that Spikey’s own parents were of the ‘prosperous working-class’, is

argued against slightly by some research in the inequality of British education in the twentieth

century. Halsey, Heath and Ridge (1980) used “…a sample of 8,529 males born between 1913

and 1952…” (Kirby, 2000:197). Their report included the use of a three-class model covering

Service Class, Intermediate Class and Working Class. Spikey’s parents in this case fell into the

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Intermediate Class, which included the self-employed and clerical or sales workers. Spikey’s

father was a self-employed painter and decorator, while is his mother was a part-time wages clerk

(Spikey, 2010:14).

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, a typical working class housewife and mother would have been a

full-time job in itself. They would generally stay home to prepare meals, clean the house and look

after children while the husband worked and took charge of financial matters (Castelow, n/d).

Spikey makes no mention of his mother’s education, however Castelow also notes that women of

that time, especially of the working classes, generally left school and went straight into work until

marriage. At this point, a young Spikey would probably have been in Maslows (1954) third level of

his hierarchy of needs. Basic physiological needs of basic care have been met, as well as the

safety needs of level two. The structure of his family appears to be sound which enables him, in

the third level, to give and receive love from those around him (Gross, 2009:141).

There are no reports in his book about any major life-events prior to age four which had any lasting

effects, aside from the birth of his younger sister, Joy, who is three years younger than him

(Spikey, 2010:88). The sibling relationship has always been a close one with Spikey describing

times of protecting her when necessary during childhood, all the way through to time the book was

written in 2010 – “…and when we get together, it’s immediately like old times, like she’s never

been away” (Spikey. 2010:89). Throughout his life, Spikey has also maintained a close

relationship with his parents and often speaks highly of them in the book. As his parents never

separated at any time, it is safe to say that Spikey lived in a normal nuclear family. A close-knit,

nuclear family brings with it effective socialisation. With the main wage earner usually being the

father, the wife “…is mainly responsible for raising the children” (Haralambos, 2004:484). Parsons

(1955a) stated that a nuclear family in an industrial society had two main functions; the

socialisation of the young and of adult personalities (Haralambos, 2004:98). It would be logical to

suggest then, that the choice of early schooling for Spikey was chosen by his mother.

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By all accounts, his first vivid memory is of starting his nursery education at the age of four. Based

within Oxford Grove County Primary School, his recollection of this momentous day is that of the

usual things at school – from obtaining his coat peg to playing games (Spikey, 2010:19). “The

transition from nursery to primary school was seamless, being as it was in the same building”

(Spikey, 2010:19). For some children, beginning a new chapter in their education can be

traumatic. New surroundings and peers can disrupt a routine a child may have previously

developed, especially for those who come from poorer backgrounds and may lack a good support

network in their family (Woodhead, Moss, 2007:13). Spikey had two benefits in his situation.

Firstly, because the nursery was part of the primary school, the surroundings and teachers were

familiar to him. Secondly, Spikey’s supportive parents would likely to have alleviated any fears

prior to moving into his new class.

It is unknown if this is why the school and nursery was set out this way – to help with transitions. It

may have been purely been a price factor when the school was built, keeping children in one

building will cost less than two buildings. The school itself is still operational today, however it was

rebuilt across from the old site and opened in September 2000, under the slightly shorter name of

Oxford Grove Primary School (Jones, n/d). Spikey goes on to thank his teachers from Oxford

Grove and also his “…wonderful parents, who had encouraged me to read and write from an early

age” (Spikey, 2010:79). This reinforces not only his supportive family, but also shows that perhaps

his parents had the higher educational expectations of the prosperous working class, rather than

many of the lower working classes. Douglas noted during some of his own research that:

“…parents who are unskilled workers, for example, will often be of low educational attainment, take

little interest in their children’s school-work…and may well send their children to primary schools

which are ill-equipped, with large classes and less than first-rate teaching”.

JWB Douglas, 1964

Douglas reported these findings on the lower working classes. It can then be said that his findings

also reflect the intellect and aspirations of those families who identify with being prosperous

working class, middle-class or similar. His research is also very much applicable to this

assignment due to it being conducted over eleven years – from approximately 1953 to 1964, which

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also covers much of Spikey’s early education. Collectively, the home and family life enabled

Spikey to pass the eleven-plus examination for entry to grammar school. This will be covered later

in the assignment.

During his primary and junior school years, Spikey often reflects on the many happy times he

experienced with friends and family. Socialising outside of school generally involved playing

outside in the streets which were close to the mills of the town (Spikey, 2010:39). Activities of the

time ranged from What Time is it Mr Wolf? to football, hopscotch and various other traditional

childhood games (Spikey, 2010:39-40). Because of the era this autobiography is set in, it is

important to note that childhoods of the 1950s and 1960s are very different to that of modern

society. A report commissioned by the Daily Telegraph in 2014 concluded that, from one thousand

parents, a quarter of all children spend less than thirty minutes per week playing outdoors.

Reasons for this culture vary between health and safety concerns, blaming the weather and

children having more activities inside the home than ever before (including televisions and

computer games) (Carter, 2014). A majority of the parents surveyed acknowledged that their

children played outside far less than they did during their own childhoods (Carter, 2014). This can

be seen as a generational difference, either on its own or due to other contributing factors such as


The traditional childhood games that Spikey played were mostly because of what resources were

available at that time. The concept of Mr Wolf involved some imagination and running around,

pretending to be scared of the wolf. The game itself cost nothing to play. No special equipment

was needed therefore no nagging of parents, asking them to buy the latest toy for which to enjoy

themselves with. When it came to football, Spikey and his friends would “…play for hours,

sometimes in the dark…” (Spikey, 2010:39). This confirms the Daily Telegraph’s findings of how

little children play outside today and how much things have changed.

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A simple game of tennis with only one racquet was considered fun. Lack of resources meant

improvisations had to be made – hitting the ball against a wall substituted a tennis court, yet much

fun was still had and apparently, “…the wall always won”. (Spikey, 2010:40). Simplicity was part of

everyday life. This may have been an extension of the ‘make do and mend’ attitude from the

Second World War. With today’s health and safety rules, many of the games and activities to pass

the time which once graced British streets are no longer allowed, or perhaps now frowned upon.

But again, with children spending less and less time outdoors, the art of communication and

exercise that Spikey’s generation experienced as children, is being lost. Although Spikey’s family

were reasonably affluent, the social lives of children within his circle were probably not too

dissimilar to those of the lower working classes. Spikey describes an evenings entertainment

which consisted of comics, puzzles, listening to music and watching the coal fire burn (Spikey,

2010:41). Everyone was happy, mostly due to the lack of consumerism.

Consumerism can be defined as “attachment to materialistic values or possessions” (The Free

Dictionary, n/d). In contrast with the twenty first century, children who are from poorer

backgrounds can suffer from material deprivation. Not only can a child feel ‘left out’ because they

do not have the latest gadget, but it can also include the lack of access to resources which other

families take for granted, for example, being without a laptop or a tablet computer. This has

potential to hinder a child’s educational opportunities, simply because they cannot access the

internet. The more affluent families are able to cater to their children’s desires for toys and

devices, perhaps driven by the desire for consumerism. In Spikey’s era, this was virtually non-

existent. This lack of competition between friends over who owned what toys would surely have

continued into school. Material deprivation is also closely linked with cultural deprivation. A child

deprived of culture lacks important skills and values which are extremely important to gaining a

high level of education (Haralambos, 2004:741). This can affect language, cognitive and

personality development (Haralambos, 2004:741), which can be partly due to being unable to

access materialistic possessions such as the computer.

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The friendships created outside of school continued into the classroom. In modern society,

children are at risk of bullying and being labelled by their peers if parents cannot afford even basic

elements for them, such as new shoes or a clean uniform (Chapman, 2011:79). This in turn

impacts on personal relationships and processes, which in a classroom, is defined as

interactionism or labelling theory (Chapman, 2011:79). Interactionists describe someone’s self-

concept as being “produced in interaction with others” (Haralambos, 2004:751). Ones own self-

concept will develop much more deeply when interacting with others on a regular basis. For

Spikey, having regular, physical contact with friends outside of the home enhanced his own self-

worth, adding personal security to his already stable home life. Compounded, this socialisation

was a very positive experience which clearly helped pave his way to passing the eleven-plus

examination and gaining entry to grammar school.

Another element of primary school that Spikey briefly discusses is corporal punishment and his

ability to dodge the impending ruler across his knuckles (Spikey, 2010:19). The punishment was a

form of operant conditioning. Skinner (1958) believed that because punishments and rewards can

control many behaviours, the idea of operant conditioning in corporal punishment would

discourage repetition of undesirable behaviours (Pritchard, 2014:8). At Spikey’s school, the

punishment was the threat of being struck across the knuckles with a ruler. Another recollection of

punishment was from his maths teacher. In the absence of a cane, a broken chair leg would be

used (Spikey, 2010:47). Other settings may have adopted different forms of physical punishment

which were viewed as ‘character building’ ( So despite the reference to the

punishments being fairly short, it must have had an impact on him to be able to recall these events.

The act of corporal punishment in school was not abolished until 1986, with the exception of some

private schools ( It was finally eradicated in 1998 under the Human Rights Act

(1998) by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (2006:15:3.26).

The eleven-plus examination was a result of the 1944 Education Act, which itself was a major

milestone in terms of educational provision in England. Up until this point, many schools had fees

to be paid before a child could attend and the Act enabled free education to all state secondary

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schools (Bolton, 2012:3). However, with the introduction of the examination, results of this

determined which of three types of school a child would attend the following year, automatically

stratifying by academic ability (Heath, Jacobs, 1999:3). This selection system became known as

the Tripartite System. In theory, sending children to a school which suited their abilities or

aspirations is an excellent idea. It meant that for those who were more interested (or suited) to

manual labour jobs went to secondary modern schools, while the more able and gifted pupils

attended grammar schools, where focus was on “…academic studies, with the assumption that

many of their pupils would go on to higher education” ( The Smithills Secondary

Modern School confirms the academic abilities of its intake in a document published in 1965 by the

headmaster of the time. He said:

The policy of offering two-year courses with commercial, engineering and nursing biases to the

more able children and a practical Technical Course for children of lesser academic ability has thus

received a heartening response from pupils and their parents.

KJR Robson, 1965, p107

In the publication there are no mentions of social class, however, due to the “heartening response

from pupils and their parents”, it can be taken two ways. Firstly, those who did have lower

academic expectations or whose families all worked in manual labour jobs, wanted to continue with

their standards of life, perhaps because they were comfortable with the world as they knew it.

Secondly, if the pupils really were of lower abilities, the parents could have been happy to support

their children in whatever career path they chose for themselves, be it managing a home and a

family or a factory job. These traits generally came from the lower working classes.

When Spikey took his examination in 1962, his previous academic attainments meant he was

allocated his first choice of school – Smithills Grammar (Spikey, 2010:79). It is noted on the same

page that Spikey says “my first choice of secondary school” that this appears to be his own

personal decision, rather than that of a parent. This could reflect a growing personal confidence in

the ability to make choices and an awareness of potential life opportunities that can be gained

through academic achievement. Relating this to Maslow (1954), Spikey is now completed the

fourth level of needs, which covers self-esteem, self-respect and a sense of competence (Gross,

2009:141). The next level of cognitive needs is that which can be attained at grammar school.

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The need for knowledge and understanding, curiosity and exploration will highly likely have been

satisfied over the next five years at his school.

Interestingly, Spikey has his own theory on the school systems of that time in Bolton. He believes

that Smithills Grammar, Smithills, Technical and Smithills Secondary Modern were part of an

experimental base (Spikey, 2010:79). Due to the close proximity of these three schools, each one

part of the tripartite system, the pupils from each school were encouraged to mix together during

break times and for sporting events. Originally, the tripartite system was designed with

stratification in mind, yet here was an example of all three schools coming together. Upon further

research, comprehensive schools “emerged as an experiment in a few areas in the early 1950s”

(Bolton, 2012). These experimental schools continued to grow until the 1965 education reform and

the abolition of the tripartite system. If Spikey himself noticed the situation then it is likely others

did too. The research did not uncover any names of experimental comprehensive schemes but

they are likely to have stemmed from those who opposed the tripartite, deeming it to be unfair to

those of lower classes and lower abilities. Spikey puts forward the nation that his experience of

this scheme was in fact a great idea (Spikey, 2010:79). Children still got the education which

suited them the most (academic or vocational), yet still reaped the benefits of coming together,

which helps to break down social barriers by mixing with many types of people. Spikey also had a

fairly unique experience with this experiment. Even during some lunchtimes he would have his

dinner at the technical school instead of his own (Spikey, 2010:80). Another interesting point he

makes is that pupils could either be moved up or down between schools, depending on

performance. Even within modern schools, this is an unheard of practice, so far as this current

research allows. Coincidently, it was the Conservatives who introduced tripartite after the war and

it was Labour who abolished it in favour of comprehensive education. Historically, the

Conservatives are seen as the political party who work for the more affluent of society, which is

why they favoured grammar schools. The Labour has always been the party for the working

classes, who objected to such class divisions and wanted education to be inclusive (Heath,

Jacobs, 1999:3).

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Stratification continued at school for Spikey. Not only were pupils streamed prior to entering

grammar school, they were further streamed from the second year onwards. This was determined

from examination results at the end of the first year (Spikey, 2010:81). As Spikey missed out on

the top stream, by his own admission he “was rubbish at maths” and felt disappointed by this. This

is a reflection of his own desire to succeed academically, whether for himself, to make his parents

proud or a combination of both. From the third year, subjects were now streamed. Although a few

memories of teachers are mentioned at this point, no further references to achievements are

made. It is known, however, that Spikey carried on his education into the sixth form with “…a

vague idea that I’d like to go to university and study medicine” (Spikey, 2010:90). One can assume

from this that he passed his exams with good grades with aspirations of becoming successful in a

medical career. It is here that the reader learns of the unfortunate circumstances which greatly

changed the direction of his studies. “…My dad had an accident at work and as a result I had to

leave school and get a job” (Spikey, 2010:90).

For anyone to find themselves in a situation they could never have anticipated, it can be a time of

uncertainty and worry. Spikey, with his love, sense of loyalty and pride for his parents, stepped up

to the mark and put his studies on hold. Applying for a job at Bolton Royal Infirmary, he

successfully became a Junior Medical Laboratory Technician. At seventeen years old, Spikey

demonstrated a great level of emotional maturity, which can be measured in the ability to make

informed decisions in problems faced in life. Some identifiers of maturity have been listed by

Heartland Family Service (n/d) and include the ability to handle frustrations and control anger,

unselfishness and accepting disappointment without becoming bitter. These are very true of

Spikey’s response to his family’s situation. A great influence on the speed of maturational levels

comes from the nature and nurture provided by the parents as the child grows. Rutter et al. (1997)

defined five principals which play a part in this process, specifically “The interplay between persons

and their environments needs to be considered within an ecological framework” (Bee, Boyd,

2007:472-3). In this instance, it refers to an event which will be interpreted depending on the

function of family structures, culture and possibly social class. For Spikey then, his reaction to

leaving sixth form to earn a wage for his family, came from the care and values instilled in him over

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the years, concluding in what could be considered a success, in the sense that he was able to look

after his family as they did for him. On a developmental level, Maslow would likely say that Spikey

has now met the fourth level of needs – esteem. Within circles and families, we have a need for

recognition. With recognition comes power (Gross, 2009:141). This is observable with Spikey’s

decision making for himself and his family.

It is at this point that Spikey’s formal education will be concluded in this assignment. As mentioned

at the beginning of the writing, Spikey did continue with his medical career for thirty-two years,

working his way up from the entry level position of Junior Medical Laboratory Technician to Chief

Biomedical Scientist (Spikey, 2010:229). To progress this far up the staffing structure would have

taken much hard work and dedication, possibly inspired by his parents aspirations as mentioned

on page five of this assignment. Referring back to Jackson and Marsden (1969), they noted how

“middle-class parents are much more aware of the relativity of procedures of selection and

rejection…” (p99). The authors are referring to primary school selection, however, this knowledge

can be applied to many different circumstances, including that of acceptance to grammar schools

or even gaining employment. Spikey may well have learned these important rules for life at quite a

young age and they made a lasting impression on him. Therefore he could be working and

studying to get what he deserves or desires (Haralambos, 2004:365) in an ideal meritocracy.

The types of school mentioned have also played very large parts of pupils lives, not just Spikey’s.

Those who were successful in grammar school education benefitted from the encouragement and

standards expected from the teachers at such schools, whose aim is academically focused for

preparation of further studies. Similarly, those who attended technical or secondary modern

schools may have also been suitably educated to the levels that were expected of them, largely

based on their social backgrounds. Whilst comprehensive schools were introduced to try and

eradicate or reduce such stratification between schools, for example the grammar schools mostly

attracted the middle-classes, the streaming within subjects nowadays still can have the same

effect, with those in the lower ability streams facing “…a lowering of the morale and consequently

of the achievements of those children who are assigned…” (Yates, Pidgeon, 1959:2:1:65). Pupils

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are still stratified on their intelligence and abilities – something which the comprehensive schools

were created against. Now, the pressure on pupils to do well comes when they take their GCSEs

at age 16. In Spikey’s era, the pressure was on the 11 Plus examination. “The class competition

for educational advantage may simply have been shifted…” (Heath, Jacobs, 1999:1). Education

during the tripartite era compared to today’s standards, had many benefits over comprehensives.

And vice-versa. It can all depend on the social expectations of the family and our socialisation

experiences. While some grammar schools do still exist alongside comprehensives, parents have

a choice as to how to guide their children through school. This means a child will be successful in

whichever school they attend, according to how they are raised and the standards they aspire to.

To surmise, Spikey’s parents have been one of the greatest influences in his school and working

life. His frequent recollections of fond memories throughout the book reflect this and is openly

thankful about it. “I have gained so much respect for my mum…A lesser woman would have been

crushed” (Spikey, 2010:312). Finally, Maslow (1954) could also conclude Spikey’s development as

reaching self-actualisation, whereby he has found contentment and realised his potential in several

areas, including the family and in work (Gross, 2009:141). A happy, supportive childhood has

certainly led to a happy, successful career.


Anon, (n/d) Grammar Schools [online] available at:

schools [accessed 29/04/15]

Bee, H and Boyd, D (2007) The Developing Child (11th edt). Allyn and Bacon, Boston

Bolton, Paul (2012) Education: Historical Statistics. House of Commons, London

Carter, Claire , 6 April 2014 Children spend less than 30 minutes playing outside a week [online]

available at:

playing-outside-a-week.html [accessed 27/04/15]

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Castelow, E (n/d) The 1950’s Housewife [online] available at: http://www.historic- [accessed 28/04/15]

Chapman, Steven (2011) Revise AS & A2 Sociology. Harper Collins, London

Department for Constitutional Affairs (2006) A Guide to the Human Rights Act 1998 (3rd edt),

Crown Copyright, London

Douglas, JWB. 1964 The Home and the School [online] available at:

Class/The%20home%20and%20the%20school050.pdf [accessed 29/04/15]

Gross, Richard. (2009) Psychology, The Science of Mind and Behaviour (5th Edt), Hodder Arnold,


Haralambos M and Holborn M (2004) Sociology Themes and Perspectives (6th edt), Harper

Collins, London

Health, A and Jacobs, S (1999) Comprehensive Reform in Britain, Working Paper Number 72.

CREST, Oxford

Heartland Family Services (n/d) Teen Maturity [online] available at: [accessed 05/05/15]

Jackson, Brian and Marsden, Dennis (1966) Education and the Working Class (2nd edt), Penguin

Books, Middlesex

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Jones, H (n/d) Schooling in Halliwell [online] available at: http://www.halliwell- [accessed 20/04/15]

Kirby, Mark et al. (2000) Sociology in Perspective, Heinemann, Oxford

Pritchard, Alan (2014) Ways of Learning (3rd edt). Routledge, Abingdon

Robson, KJR (1965) Vocational Approaches in a Secondary Modern School. The Vocational

Aspect of Education, Vol 17, Issue 37

Spikey, Dave (2010) Under The Microscope, My Life. Michael O’Mara Books, London

The Free Dictionary (n/d) Consumerism [online] available at: [accessed 07/05/15]

Woodhead, Martin and Moss, Peter (2007). Early Childhood and Primary Education: Transitions in

the Lives of Young Children. Early Childhood in Focus (2). Milton Keynes: Open University.

Yates, A and Pidgeon DA (1959) The Effects of Streaming. Educational Research, Volume 2,

Issue 1

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Cognitive Theories into Practice: Introducing Effective Strategies & Structure to an Audio Production Learner with Cerebral Palsy

Phil Owst – Media and Music Course Leader and Music Academy Manager at East Riding

College Introduction

Bruner (Bruner, J, 1957) states that learners should be encouraged to discover solutions via

appropriate tasks. For a learner with cerebral palsy the ability to make effective decisions and

achieve desired learning outcomes within the chosen area of audio production, is one of the most

important competencies. Therefore, this specialist paper aims to critically evaluate how effective

strategies and structure can help develop an individual with cerebral palsy and achieve required

learning outcomes. The learning outcomes which I intend to address are, K1 & U1, A2 & 4.

The start of the paper will discuss my specialist area and address key factors affecting teaching

and learning within the area. It will then go on to explain the development of researched methods,

and how specific learning theories and literature have helped assess the learners needs.

It will then discuss the implementation of these methods and critically evaluate how effective

strategies and structure within learning can help achieve effective choices and positive learning

outcomes for a learner with cerebral palsy.

Specialist Area

I teach audio production in further education on the level 1 and level 2 media national diploma

programme at a college in East Yorkshire. Audio production is a practice which involves different

stages of creative production relating to topics, such as; radio production, sound design for film and

audio manipulation. The concepts of audio and sound are very similar to mathematics in that the

subject matter revolves around numerical equations, theory and formulas, and applying these

concepts to course work and specialist software. To put it into context, audio production is a

subject that examines how audio is structured and built within the media industry.

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Factors affecting teaching and learning within my specialist area

Within my BTEC level 1 media group I have one specific learner with cerebral palsy. Learner A has

been aided by a wheelchair and a carer all his life. Due to his disability, learner A is unable to

move, talk and he uses his wheelchair (via computer system) to communicate, instruct and apply

daily tasks. Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition which affects body co – ordination and

general movement. With issues relating to the brain and nervous system, individuals with cerebral

palsy lose the inability to control muscle movement, which results in random uncontrollable body

movements and balance deficiencies. Within the U.K alone an estimated 1 in 400 people are

affected by cerebral palsy (NHS, 2015). Within education physically handicapped learners

experience an array of difficulties due to their motor skills (the inability to use muscles and engage

active movements from the body). Learners with cerebral palsy may incorporate, spasms, which

can effect basic communication. This is very problematic for the learner, as it may reduce learners

to emotional difficulties, self-confidence and low self-esteem within the classroom.

Within the media curriculum Learner A has to follow the BTEC Level 1 syllabus for audio

production, which specifies learning outcomes for the topic, structure and areas of guidance for the

learner. It also specifically outlines the techniques and methods that should be delivered, and

specifies the amount of time for delivery, it also suggests reading lists and online sources. To

summarize, what the learners are receiving is documentation which focuses purely on subject

matter, and while it gives suggestions of creative ideas and practices, it only offers a directory of

discipline to be covered. Learner A found the structure very confusing and the content left the

learner overwhelmed and frustrated. (Criteria example in appendix B) He was unwilling to

complete simple tasks, he became very disruptive, unresponsive to direction and achieving all

learning outcomes became very problematic.

According to the Training and Development Agency for Schools, 2009; “Teachers have a statutory

duty to modify the programmes of study” It also states; “Teachers can modify the curriculum to

remove barriers so all pupils meet the same objectives”. (TDA, 2009, p.05) With this in mind, I

needed to provide an alternative solution through research and investigation to achieve

assessment and learning outcomes for this learner.

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Research (Teaching Practice)

According to Doctor Henning Rye and Professor Donath Skjorten, authors of the – Children with

Severe Cerebral Palsy Guide; “Regardless of presumed, physical, sensory, or cognitive defects,

students should be taught, through skill adaptions wherever necessary.” (Rye, Skjorten, 1989,

p.20) They also state, teachers should “provide the frameworks and clues which the child needs in

order to be able to understand the meaning.” (Rye, Skjorten, 1989, p.26) I feel what they are

suggesting here is, teachers have a duty to incorporate effective creativity, strategies, skill and

structure to enable learners (regardless of their physical nature) to understand the meaning of the

content provided to them, either through the curriculum or another governing body. Also within their

guide Rye and Skjorten, demonstrate a specific model for teachers which outlines five different

types of strategies for effective learning for learners with cerebral palsy; 1) Person - Attachment to

specific persons and thus the establishment of meaningful social relationships will provide a basis

for communication and therefore for learning. 2) Place - The child can learn to recognize and

differentiate between places (and thus between activities and people) 3) Order/ Sequence - It will

be necessary to help the child to receive an overview of the different actions and their sequence in

a single activity as well of what it may expect will happen during a day, a week or a longer period of

time. 4) Time - Time will be closely related to order and sequence and will often be part of it, but

must also be considered separately. 5) Space - An understanding of space is connected to

experiencing, understanding, differentiating and relating something that is two a three-dimensional.

This will also include understanding distance, direction, size, shape, firmness and hollowness.

Another model outlined by the Special Education Support Service (2015), highlights other

possibilities for effective teaching and learning strategies. They suggest teachers should: 1)

Encourage independence 2) Use computers and audio-visual aids in the student’s learning and

teaching programme 3) Allow students extra time to complete tasks 4) Encourage communication

to prevent isolation

Both models seem to address similar areas of teaching strategies. The main emphasis seems to

derive through effective communication with the learner and time management, which allows the

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learner sufficient time to complete tasks. I also believe, through the use of computer technology

better teaching and learning can be achieved.

“Computers can store sequences of instructional objectives and student performance information,

as well as track student progress, complete proper forms and provide required record keeping

data” (Abhiyan, S, p.44)

I also began reading and researching different cognitive learning theorists, such as Piaget,

Vygotsky and Gesalt, and the theorist that seemed more relevant to my specific area and the

implementation strategies for the learner with cerebral palsy, was Jerome Bruner. Bruner’s theories

of meaningful learning and structure are based on the premise that students (even learners with

specific needs) learn something, they manipulate it, apply it and evaluate their work. Also, within

Bruner’s learning theory he advocates the use of discovery learning as “a student – centred

approach in which the teacher’s role is to provide opportunities for the learner to work out

problems” (Scales, 2008, p.65)

“Learners should be encouraged to discover solutions via appropriate tasks” (Bruner, J, 2006)

With his structured approach in mind, I also discovered two interesting literature resources by

authors and teachers, Tanya Dickinson – Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties and Jerome

Rosner – Helping Children Overcome Learning Difficulties. These specific books really opened my

eyes and became the fundamentals into my teaching strategies for the learner with cerebral palsy.

They expressed how to structure learners with these specific needs and keep them engaged by

relating topics to something they are interested in (very similar to Bruner’s methods of structured

learning in that the teacher provides a format to guide the learners). One very interesting method I

read was how implementing frameworks can help simplify learner’s objectives and structure

learners with specific needs. One of the fundamental factors I had affecting teaching and learning

was achieving all criteria objectives and capturing evidence for assessment. Through the use of

frameworks these targets could be achievable.

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Conclusion (Implementation)

Through ICT methods, researched practices and the BTEC level 1 media, audio production

curriculum, I designed digital structured frameworks (appendix 1) to help this specific learner with

cerebral palsy to understand the criteria and become more confident within the module studies.

Within the framework I included all course requirements, but avoided oppressing the learner with

too much information and allowed sufficient time to complete each task, which Rye and Skjorten,

and SESS suggested.

“Pedagogically, the disabled pupil might need a slower rate of progression than others” (Rye,

Skjorten, 1989, p.36)

I made the framework content relevant to the subject matter of audio production, and made all

learning outcomes clear and achievable. It offers the knowledge relating to the subject (discovered

and delivered), and a chance to apply this knowledge to design tasks, such as investigation into

radio products and how audio is used within the industry. Within the framework, there are

opportunities to use specialist software, attain basic skills and apply knowledge to extend the unit

in a personal and creative direction, for example; creating a radio station product. I also embed

literacy into the framework by introducing crossword tasks which incorporate word associations

relating to the subject. While I don’t formally teach comprehension or sentence/ paragraph

structure, I do encourage good writing by giving the learner samples of essay structures (this gives

the learner an insight into different levels of writing and prepare them for what is expected).

Numeracy is embedded in the processes of design work and software practices (example; Adobe

Audition use; timecode, sample rates, bit rates etc.). The learner also has to work out design

structuring, i.e. scale and measurement for poster designs and leaflets based on the information

provided within the framework.

“It is very difficult for students to achieve a learning goal unless they understand that goal and can

assess what they need to do to reach it (Black et al, 2003, p.49)

With the implementation of researched methods and the construction of these digital frameworks,

I believe I now have a medium which helps assess learners with specific needs such as,

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Journal of Research and Scholarly Activity 2015-2016 33

cerebral palsy, and help learners achieve required learning outcomes. Through the effectiveness of

the framework, learner A has successfully completed all relevant criteria outcomes and applied his

own evidence into the digital framework. After achieving positive learning outcomes within the

module, learner A is currently studying within a level 2 media programme and hoping to attain

relevant grades to progress onto a level 3 programme.


Black, P. (2003). Assessment for learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Bruner, J. (2006). In search of pedagogy. London: Routledge.

Daniels, H. (2001). Vygotsky and pedagogy. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Dickenson, T. (2013). Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties. 1st ed. England: Inclusive

Learning.,. (2015). Helping Children with Learning Disabilities: Practical Parenting Tips for

Home and School. Retrieved 23 March 2015, from


Neary, M. (2002). Curriculum studies in post-compulsory and adult education. Cheltenham: Nelson

Thornes.,. (2015). Cerebral palsy - NHS Choices. Retrieved 23 March 2015, from

Piaget, J. (2006). Piaget. London: Routledge.

Reece, I., Walker, S., & Walker-Gleaves, C. (2003). Teaching, training and learning. Sunderland:

Business Education.

Rosner, J. (1993). Helping children overcome learning difficulties. New York: Walker and Co.

Rye, H., & Skjorten, M. (1989). Children with severe Cerebral Palsy. France: Special Education.

Scales, P. (2008). Teaching in the lifelong learning sector. Maidenhead, England: Open University


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Journal of Research and Scholarly Activity 2015-2016 34,. (2015). Strategies for Learning and Teaching | Special Education Support Service.

Retrieved 22 March 2015, from


Sharp, H. (2010). Special needs 'used too widely'. BBC News. Retrieved 1 March 2015, from

Appendix A


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Criteria and Aims

Knowledge Assignments Design practices

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Appendix B

BTEC Criteria Example


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Critically Discuss How Childhood And Youth Research Builds On A

Series Of Values, Beliefs And Images About Children And Young People

Tracey Herridge – Curriculum Leader in Early Years and Care at East Riding College

Concepts and images of childhood have evolved historically and changed the way in which society

views children and the life stage recognised as childhood. Current concepts of childhood view

children as unique and competent learners with specific and differing needs in comparison to

adults, however, this has not always been the case.

According to Ariès (1962), the concept of a child having their own specific set of needs was not

considered in the Middle Ages, nor was the idea of childhood as a specific life stage, indeed, the

child was viewed as an ‘adult in waiting’. However, Locke (1632-1704) challenged these views

and argued that the emphasis on childhood was on ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’ (Uprichard,

2008). Followers of the romantic discourse of childhood, argued that children were innocents and,

as such, need protection and moulding to become responsible adults. This belief acknowledges

that practices should ensure children’s well-being is catered for along the pathway to adulthood

and that that pathway should be supportive and nurturing. This concept was evident in the

aftermath of World War 1 when children were considered as the nation’s future with childhood

needing to be preserved and nurtured. This era also acknowledged that children had their own

identity and their own set of unique needs that differed to those of adults which paved the way for

children’s rights and, eventually, research ethics. Each of these historical conceptual changes of

children and childhood have consequently impacted upon the way in which researchers conduct

research with children and young people and these will be discussed in more detail.

One of the key aspects of research that has been influenced by historical beliefs, values and

images of children and young people is that of individual identity and having a set of unique needs

which have been subsequently enshrined within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of

the Child, referred to hereafter as UNCRC, (1989). The era where children and young people are

seen and not heard has long passed and, in stark contrast to Ariès’ (1962) concept of ‘adult in

waiting’, are acknowledged as individuals in their own right and not ‘mini-adults in the making’

(Nairn and Clarke, 2011). When undertaking research on the lives of children and young people,

who best to provide first-hand information on these experiences than the children who live them

day-by-day. Pahl and Pool (2001) refer to children as being experts within the contexts of their

own lives and that researchers need to listen to their ‘close up worlds’. Adults are unable to truly

understand the diverse experiences and sense what it means to be a child or young person as

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their perspective is biased from an adult’s view and, as such, Fraser et al (2014) refer to the move

away from research ‘on’ children to research ‘with’ children by adopting a more active participatory


In order for researchers to fully understand issues that involve children, young people and the

experiences of their lives, these same children and young people need to actively participate in the

process. Under the UNCRC, children and young people are awarded rights to provision, protection

and participation which, within the context of research, affords them the right to participate whilst

ensuring their protection from harm. However, these rights do not come without challenge from the

adult world, particularly in relation to children being perceived as competent to make decisions and

become involved in issues that relate to them and their lives. Historically, children have not been

involved in research due to being considered incompetent, as Qvortrup et al (1994) state

“children [are] often denied the right to speak for themselves either because they are held

incompetent in making judgements or because they are thought of as unreliable witnesses

about their own lives (Qvortrup et al, 1994:2)”

However, this perception is critiqued by Hyder (2002) and Lansdown (2005) who consider that

even the youngest children are able to make decisions. Woodhead and Faulkner, (2008:26)

argued that children demonstrate their competencies “in situations which make sense to them”.

Kellett (2004) refers to three different elements relating to children and young people’s involvement

in research; participation, voice and agency. For participation to occur, children and young people

need to be listened to, consulted upon and involved in any decision making. Hart (1992) and Shier

(2001) both theorised the different levels of participation which children may achieve when involved

in research projects, however, both theories were critiqued by Kirby and Gibbs (2006) due to the

constant shifting balance of power which makes it difficult to assign and sustain a single level of

participation, therefore, suggesting that children and young people could not ascertain ownership

or power within the research process. Gabb (2010) challenges this view and argues that research

participants can control lines of questioning, thought and disclosure and, as such, cannot be

considered powerless.

In order to fully participate in research, individuals need to be able to express their thoughts and

views freely and this right is awarded by Article 13 of the UNCRC (1989) which states that children

“shall have the right to freedom of expression”. Children and young people are able to exercise

this right by being involved throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation process of the

research project, which is evidenced in Davidson (2008), however, in order for individuals to

exercise their voice, an environment that is safe and conducive to expression must be established.

In addition to verbal expression, Bucknall (2004) places equal emphasis on listening to silence

which can convey multiple meanings including lack of comprehension or misunderstanding,

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reluctance to answer for fear of potential reprisal or effects based on their response. Failure to

acknowledge and respond to these silences clearly excludes the child or young person from

participation. Whilst the UNCRC (1989) awards children and young people the right of expression,

this right is not universal as it does not take into account cultural or geographic differences which

then results in children’s right to expression being inadvertently suppressed. This is seen in Porter

and Abane (2008) who argue that researchers have an ethical responsibility in ensuring all children

are listened to.

In order for children to participate, have a voice and express their views, researchers need to

ensure the methodologies they employ are age/stage appropriate for their participants. Clark and

Moss (2001) did precisely this by adopting a selection of methods that facilitated the young

participants in their study to document aspects of their daily lives in nursery. The range of methods

utilised provided a fully inclusive approach which enabled even the youngest children to take an

active role in the project. A similar approach to listening to children and young people was adopted

by Pahl and Pool (2011) who utilised a multimodal approach to their research methodology which

gave the research participants licence to develop their own methods rather than have them

imposed upon them by the project leaders. Aldgate (The Open University, 2014) also supports this

view by stating that when conducting research adjustment to research techniques were made to

meet the needs of younger research participants.

Kellett (2014) argues that the final element of agency can only be achieved once change has been

effected as a result of participation and voice, however, the extent to which full ownership or total

participation in research can be achieved is challenged by Franks, in Pahl and Pool (2011) who

refers to total participation as a ‘false goal’ and that a more realistic idea is for children and young

people to acquire ownership of elements of the research, thereby becoming stakeholders rather

than owners. Punch (The Open University, 2014) argues that although the changing role of

children and young people in research is helping to address some of the imbalances of power,

control will ultimately remain with the adult as involvement of children and young people at all

stages of research may be difficult. Evidence of this is seen in ‘The Growing Up in Cities Project’,

Chawla and Driskell (2006) whereby despite the children undertaking the research as active

participants and primary researchers, the findings from the children’s perspective were not

compatible with the perspectives and priorities of the key stakeholders.

Whilst participation in research is one way of children and young people exercising their rights, this

participation must be underpinned by a series of ethics and protocols that support and protect the

individual concerned. According to Alderson (2014) rules for ethical research place an emphasis

on principles, outcomes and rights which aim to ensure research subjects are respected, awarded

dignity and receive sensitivity towards their needs and feelings. Harm or costs that may impact on

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the project are avoided and promoting the research in informing future policy and practice is a

focus. Finally, children’s rights are promoted in accordance with provision, protection and

participation as underpinned by the Articles of UNCRC (1989).

Children and young people are vulnerable to exploitation from external factors so it is imperative

that ethics are applied in order to protect children and young people from unscrupulous conduct

and processes which may cause them harm. The participation of children and young people in

research is essential for governments, organisations and other agencies to understand their worlds

so that policy and practices can be informed with a view to improving outcomes. Every Child

Matters (2003) government consultation paper states that ‘Real service improvement is only

attainable through involving children and young people and listening to their views’. Nairn and

Clark (2011) state that researchers are faced with a challenge of finding the balance between

protecting children whilst at the same time allowing for their voices to be heard. Participatory

research also contributes to children and young people being empowered as well as developing

thinking and decision making skills that are essential for life as an independent adult.

One of the key ethics in relation to research with children and young people is that of obtaining

consent to participation. Obtaining consent is essential in ensuring that potential research subjects

are aware of what is involved in the study, along with the potential risks, demands and implications.

Research participants need to enter the study freely and of their own accord, with an

understanding that they have the right to withdraw from the study at any time. However, ethical

guidance suggests that parental consent is sought from young people as old as 16/17 years of age

which could result in a possible scenario whereby the child has expressed their view to participate,

yet the parent has declined consent. In this instance, the rights of the child are in direct conflict

with the rights of the parent. Whilst the UNCRC (1989) gives children and young people the right

to express their views and actively participate, Article 18 states that parents have responsibility for

raising their child and should act in the best interests of their child, thereby over-ruling their child’s

rights under the same convention.

Before children are offered and then give their consent to participation, the question of competency

needs to be considered. Historically, children have not been considered competent to participate

in research due to their level of immaturity, lack of expressive or receptive language and inability to

understand the research processes. Each of these factors resulted in children being perceived as

ineffective and invalid contributors to research, however, the same could be said of some adults.

Equally, there are some children who are competent at participating in research in the same way

as adults (Fraser et al, 2014). It is important that researchers and parents do not mistake

immaturity for incompetence and accept that children can be competent participants as evidenced

by Flewitt, et al (2009) in Cooper (2014) whereby age and cognitive/language factors were evident,

yet the children actively participated.

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Whilst participation and consents are amongst the many different ethics that underpin research

values, it is important not to become preoccupied with ethics as this may lead to the outcomes of

the study being shaped (Gabb, 2010). Leeson (2014) further warns of being over-cautious with

ethics as this may result in research being diluted which results in children’s voices being silenced.

To conclude, contemporary values, beliefs and images of childhood have been influenced by the

disciplines of psychology, anthropology and sociology in different ways. The psychological

discipline views childhood as a unique life stage dissimilar to the experiences of adults, as does

the sociological discipline, which also recognises that children and young people are competent

and social actors within an adult-shared world (Kellett, 2004) who are able to participate in issues

that relate to them. However, recognition of childhood as a unique life stage signifies that research

subjects must be treated differently to adults in a way that meets their unique and developing

needs, with research methods that are age/stage appropriate and facilitate full participation.

However, the ethnographic discipline is faced with a conflict regarding children and young people’s

rights, especially in relation to participation and voice as these rights may not necessarily be

compatible with the life practices of non-Western cultures. This could potentially cause conflict and

harm to the child participants so researchers need to adopt their practices to ensure this is avoided

and the children protected.


Alderson, P, (2014) ‘Ethics’ in Clark, A., Flewitt, R., Hammersley, M. and Robb, M. (eds)

(2014) Understanding Research with Children and Young People, London, Sage.

Ariès, P (1962) Centuries of Childhood, London: Cape

Bucknall, S, (2014) ‘Doing Qualitative Research With Children and Young People’ in

Clark, A., Flewitt, R., Hammersley, M. and Robb, M. (eds) (2014) Understanding Research with

Children and Young People, London, Sage.

Chawla, L and Driskell D, (2006), ‘The Growing Up in Cities Project’, Journal of Community

Practice, vol 14 no1-2, pp 183:200

Clark, A and Moss, P (2001), Listening to Young Children: The Mosaic Approach, London: National

Children’s Bureau (2nd edition, 2011)

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Cooper, V. (2014) ‘Designing Research for Different Purposes’ in Clark, A., Flewitt, R.,

Hammersley, M. and Robb, M. (eds) (2014) Understanding Research with Children and Young

People, London, Sage.

Davidson, S (2008) ‘What children think about having a thyroid disorder: A small-scale study’, The

Children’s Research Centre, The Open University [Online]. Available at

people/aged-9-10 (Accessed 15 March 2014)

Donaldson, M (1978), Children’s Minds, London: Fontana

Every Child Matters (2003), London: Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stationery Office

Fraser, S, Flewitt, R and Hammersley ,M. (2014) ‘What is Research with Children and Young

People?’ in Clark, A., Flewitt, R., Hammersley, M. and Robb, M. (eds) (2014) Understanding

Research with Children and Young People, London, Sage.

Hart, R (1992), Children’s Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship. Florence: UNICEF

Hyder, T (2002), ‘Making it happen: Young children’s rights in action’, in B Franklin (ed), The New

Handbook of Children’s Rights: Comparative Policy and Practice, London and New York:


Kellett, M. (2014) ‘Images of childhood and their influences on research’ in Clark, A., Flewitt, R.,

Hammersley, M. and Robb, M. (eds) (2014) Understanding Research with Children and Young

People, London, Sage.

Kirby, P and Gibbs, S (2006), ‘Facilitating participation: Adults’caring support roles within child-to-

child projects in schools and after-school settings’, Children & Society, vol 20 no 3, pp209-22

Lansdown, G (2005) The Evolving Capacities of the Child. Florence: Innoncenti Research Centre

Leeson, C (2014) ‘Asking difficult questions: exploring research methods with children on painful

issues’, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, vol 37 no 2, pp206-222

Nairn, A and Clarke, B (2011), ‘Researching children: are we getting it right?’, International Journal

of Market Research, vol 54, no 2 pp177-198

The Open University (2014) ‘Quantitative and qualitative research: What is research?’, K313 Study

Resources [Online], Available at

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Journal of Research and Scholarly Activity 2015-2016 43 (Accessed 16 March


Pahl, K and Pool, S (2011), ‘Living Your Life Because it’s the Only Life You’ve Got’, Qualitative

Research Journal, vol 11, no 2 pp17-37

Porter, G and Abane, A (2008), ‘Increasing children’s participation in African transport planning:

Reflections on methodological issues in a child-centred research project’, Children’s Geographies,

vol 6, no pp151-67

Qvortrup, J, Bardy, M Sgritta, G and Wintersberger, H (eds) (1994) Childhood Matters. Vienna:

Europe Centre

Rousseau, J (1762) Emile, or On Education, transl Alan Bloom. Harmondsworth: Penguin (1991)

Shier, H, (2001), ‘Pathways to participation: Openings, opportunities and obligations’, Childen and

Society, vol 15 no 2, pp107-17

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1989) Geneva: United Nations

Uprichard, E (2008), ‘Children as being and becomings: Children, childhood and temporality’,

Children and Society, vol 22, no 4 pp303-13

Woodhead, M and Faulkner, D (2008), ‘Subjects, objects or participants? Dilemmas of

psychological research with children’ in P Christensen and A James (eds), Research with Children:

Perspectives and Practices, 2nd edition, London: Routledge Falmer: pp10-39

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Understanding Part Time College Higher Education

Dr Arti Saraswat and Anthony Hudson – Researchers at London: Association of Colleges

with Dr Anne Thompson, Independent Researcher

Executive Summary

This summary presents the main findings from the research on part time English College Higher

Education (CHE) commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the

Association of Colleges. The research has been undertaken by Continuum, University of East


The research is based on a sample of 30 colleges chosen to reflect different patterns in the level of

change in part time HE numbers, the volume of the part time HE numbers, delivery of prescribed

as well as non-prescribed provision, delivery of directly funded and indirectly funded provision, as

well as the location of colleges (in English regions). The sample included 2 colleges from the East

of England, 2 from the East Midlands, 4 from Greater London, 4 from the North East, 5 from the

North West, 3 from the South East, 4 from the South West, 1 from the West Midlands and 5 from

the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

The research used qualitative as well as mixed methods approaches. The fieldwork included in-

depth face to face interviews with College HE leaders/managers, as well as completion of student

surveys by students at the 30 participating colleges. Findings from six focus groups have enriched

the findings from the student questionnaires.

Key points

Trends in College HE

Provision of higher level qualifications in colleges has a long history with variation in its recognition,

funding and regulation. The role of FECs in providing HE has largely been framed with an

emphasis on vocational, accessible, local, responsive and employer-focused provision.

There is a disjunction between policy and practice. HEFCE has for some time encouraged an

expansion of higher education in colleges but the reverse has taken place.

Based on the total population of students registered on programmes of HE at HEIs or FECs in

England in 2012/13, (including students registered at FECs only where they are studying a

prescribed course of HE), a total of 6.7 percent of HEFCE recognised undergraduate HE is taught

in FECs. Therefore, the proportion of recognised undergraduate HE that takes place in FECs is

only a relatively small proportion of the overall recognised undergraduate HE that takes place in

FECs, HEIs and other providers.

In comparison with HEFCE recognised provision, the NPHE (that is not funded by HEFCE) is a

smaller component of College HE. Whilst the FPE count for total HEFCE recognised numbers was

108, 595 in 2012/13, the NPHE numbers were 40,110 (in headcount terms).

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There has been an overall decline in part time College HE. The decline in HEFCE recognised part

time HE was 32 percent, which is a steeper decline in percentage terms in contrast with the decline

of 12 percent in part time NPHE.

There has been a decline in HEFCE recognised part time student numbers across all regions of

the country, and although NPHE part time numbers have also declined, some increase in the

numbers have been noted in London and in South West England. The part time HEFCE

recognised as well as part time NPHE are studied predominantly by older students (25 and over)

and therefore it confirms that part time CHE strongly caters to the needs of older students. The

numbers of both male and female students studying recognised HE has declined, however, the

numbers of female students have declined more steeply.

The most popular HEFCE recognised subjects studied by the students are Education, and Initial

Teacher Training, Business and Administrative Studies, Creative Arts and Design and Engineering

and Technology. Education and Training, and Business and Law are also the most studied NPHE

subjects. Whilst there has been a steep decline in the numbers of students studying part time

HEFCE recognised Education, and Initial Teacher Training courses, the numbers of those studying

NPHE Education and Training courses has shown some increase. Students studying part time

Business courses (both HEFCE recognised and NPHE) have declined notably.

While the number of students from ethnic minority groups has declined in terms of part time

HEFCE recognised courses, the numbers of students from minority groups studying part time

NPHE courses has increased. Both HEFCE recognised as well as NPHE (non-HEFCE funded) are

predominantly studied by students whose domicile is English.

Reasons for decline in part time College HE

The decline in part time CHE is of significant concern to the colleges. It is known to play a crucial

role in widening participation and providing HE opportunities to this who may otherwise not have

access to HE. The decline is also of concern because part time CHE makes an important financial

contribution to the colleges.

One of the main reasons for the decline in part time HE was perceived to be related to the new fee

and funding regime. The introduction of part time loans was generally viewed to be unhelpful

because mature students with work and familial commitments, were known to be debt averse and

were less likely to take out loans to fund their part time studies. The lack of awareness of loans

was cited to be another reason which affected part time recruitment.

The economic situation and employer reluctance in investing in staff training and development was

also viewed to be a crucial factor in explaining the decline. This was a particular issue in regions

were any economic recovery was very slow. Part time HE was noted to be studied mainly by those

in employment and often funded by the employers. Under financial constraints, employers were

also believed to expect their staff to take out loans with a possibility to repay their loans.

ELQ ruling is also believed to hinder the recruitment of those with prior HE qualifications and

wanted to retrain to change careers. This was believed to ‘limit’ the career options and ‘trap’ people

in their jobs. Recruitment of part time students was also viewed to be more challenging than

targeting prospective full time students.

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Part time recruitment is also believed to affected by the relative attractiveness of the full time offer

at some of the colleges. In instances where the colleges delivered full time HE over a contact time

of one or two days per week, colleges advised their students to consider full time options,

especially in instances where the student was likely to secure a maintenance grant. Rather than

working full time and studying part time, students were offered alternatives to study full time, work

part time and draw a maintenance grant.

The decline in part time HE numbers was also noted to be underpinned by the complex decision

making of mature students which were based on a number of factors, such as, finances, childcare,

personal circumstances of their partners and families, and under multiple pressures, students were

believed to often forego their opportunities to study HE. Furthermore, targeting and recruiting part

time students was viewed to be notably more challenging than identifying and promoting CHE to

full time students. Unlike UCAS, there was no centralised admissions channel to provide any early

indicators for part time recruitment. Targeting part time students often meant reaching out to the

local employers and more targeted community based promotional activities.

College strategies to address the decline in part time CHE

A number of colleges had lowered the fee for part time provision, this lowering of fee was driven by

making the provision attractive to employers as well as prospective students, for others, it was

guided by low cost principle based on the less contact time that part time students had at the

colleges. Colleges were focussing on raising awareness of and promoting part time tuition fee

loans to encourage more students to study part time HE.

Most colleges were focussing on enhancing internal progression of students on apprenticeships,

FE and NPHE courses. Colleges were also simultaneously expanding and revising their offer, and

promoting their part time courses more strategically. Furthermore, a number of colleges were

considering flexible delivery models including block delivery, delivering over the weekends and

evenings, delivering courses on the employers’ sites. Whilst e-learning and blended learning

models were favoured by a number of HE leaders, they were expensive and colleges did not have

the resource and capacity to support this form of learning. Separating part time provision rather

than in-filling with full time, accreditation of prior experiential learning and credit accumulation and

transfer were also areas of strategic focus for some colleges.

Working closely with the employers and meeting their needs was crucial aspect of part time HE.

Whist most colleges exemplified ways in which they collaborated with the employers, it appeared

that there were specific instances of good practice, however, colleges needed to develop their

relationships with local employers. Business development units were helpful in developing and

strengthening these relationships.

A need for colleges to differentiate their offer was also noted. Interviewees from city based colleges

that operated within short distances from local universities, perceived a stronger need for

differentiation in contrast with colleges based in rural areas where the competition was less


Recommendations are also directed for colleges to help make part time HE more attractive and

accessible. Colleges need to identify innovative ways of engaging with the local communities as

well as local employers. Colleges also need to establish innovative approaches to make part time

HE more attractive by considering flexible modes of delivery, and recognising prior learning. Part

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time HE needs to be conceived as flexible provision rather than viewing part time HE as a residual

form of HE.

Student choice and motivations

Although a majority of the respondents were mature students, part time students are not strictly

indicative of them being mature students. Nearly one fourth of the respondents who took part in the

survey were young students under 21 years of age.

The main reasons identified by the students to study HE were instrumental in nature, however,

other non-instrumental reasons were also important during their decision making. Students also

indicated that they wanted to do something for their own self and they wanted to do something

useful/different with their lives. The key reasons underpinning the students’ decision to study part

time were because they were in employment and they did not wish to risk losing their jobs, as well

as to gain work experience whilst studying. Other personal reasons, such as, family commitments

also influenced students’ decision making to study part time HE.

In terms of choosing a further education college over a higher education institution, apart from the

availability of course, lower tuition fees and location, familiarity with the college learning

environment in general or a particular college were also important. The key reasons for choosing

their courses were the ability to fit their course around their work commitments and the funding

from the employer. A majority of students were in employment and the ability to manage their work

and studies was a crucial aspect of their decision making. The choice of the course also related to

their career enhancement and employment opportunities in general. The choice of the particular

college was also related to their employment because for a notable proportion of students the

employer links with their colleges was an important factor underpinning their choices. Location of

the college and its proximity to home was also an import part of students’ decision making.

Employers were also rated to be one of the main sources of careers advice and guidance,

however, a number of respondents did not use any source of careers advice and guidance. This

suggests that the colleges can develop this aspect of support and guidance for part time students

so that part time students can make better informed choices and decisions for their studies.

Tuition fee and part time loans

The tuition fees were fully paid for by the employers for a majority of students, although a higher

proportion of prescribed HE students secured full funding for their tuition fees than NPHE students.

Nearly one fourth of the prescribed HE students who started their courses on or after September

2012, used part time tuition fee loan to fully pay their tuition fees. A large proportion of students

were not even aware of the tuition fee loans and there was some evidence from the focus group

discussions to suggest that the students may become aware of the loans only after commencing

their studies.

Nearly one fourth of the students (prescribed HE, new fee regime) confirmed that they would not

have studied their course if the loans were not available. Therefore, there is a need for clear

information about loans to be provided by the colleges as well as nationally.

Colleges, in particular, need to ensure that this information is provided to the prospective students

during the early stages of students’ decision making process.

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Student experiences and employer support

Students rated their experience of studying HE in their colleges to be generally positive. A majority

of students believed that their courses were intellectually stimulating, they were satisfied with the

level of learning support they received, and were satisfied with the feedback they received from

their tutors. A majority of students indicated that their experience of studying at their colleges had

been positive. However, students seemed to be less satisfied with the library and IT facilities, and

through the focus group discussions, other aspects of their learning experiences, such as, the

inflexible assessment deadlines emerged to be challenging for part time students.

Extended deadlines were also noted by the survey respondents as one of the ways that could help

improve their learning achievements. Students also preferred completion of one module prior to

commencing another one to help their learning. Colleges need to consider flexible approaches of

delivering HE for part time students in order to assist them in balancing their studies with other

work and family commitments. A large proportion of respondents confirmed that they did not have

enough time as they would like to devote to their studies. This mirrors the arguments made by the

focus group participants who ‘juggled’ with work, studies and family commitments.

Although the employer support can take a number of forms, the most common and valued support

is in the form of funding of tuition fees and time off work to attend college. However, not all

employed students received support from their employers. The most valuable form of support from

the employers that could help improve the learning achievements of students were funding for the

courses, options for study leave as well as flexible work options.

Recommendations for the role that can be played by the Government

The following recommendations were made by the college HE leaders and managers:

The government could incentive the employers by offering tax incentives to employers that

sponsored a larger number of employees each year.

A reconsideration of funding of part time prescribed HE was highlighted by a number of colleges,

as part which, the costs of delivery of part time HE could be subsidised by the government.

Recommendations were also made to make part time HE more affordable to the students by

offering maintenance grants to part time students in the same way as they are extended to full time

students. This was noted to help reverse the switch in the preference of those students who

preferred full time studies over part time studies for financial reasons, especially where full time

provision was delivered almost in a part time mode.

The need for a national campaign on promoting part time tuition fee loans as well as promoting the

significance of part time HE was strongly voiced. The necessity for individuals to understand the

enhanced prospects and better opportunities that HE could present were critical to secure a ‘buy-

in’ from potential learners. The campaign should focus on the opportunities that part time HE could

provide to individuals in advancing their careers and lives and particularly target mature students

who may already be in employment and may feel ‘why do I need HE, I am already in employment?’

or those who are not in employment but do not think of HE as a way forward in life.

A revision of the ELQ ruling was also demanded and whilst the government was not expected to

fund those completing multiple degrees generally, however, it was recommended that exceptions

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Journal of Research and Scholarly Activity 2015-2016 49

must be made for part time students wanting to study to secure or change employment. In other

words, those using part time HE as employment routes must be exempt from the ELQ rule.

One of the routes for increasing part time HE was through growth in apprenticeships. The

government could assist in promoting part time HE through funding higher apprenticeships,

although the method of funding (directly to employers) was recommended to be carefully


Related to funding, it was recommended that the government could encourage more 19-24

students who study Access to HE courses, by waiving their loan repayments for the Access to HE

programmes after they graduate.

The government could also promote specialisation in specific subject areas amongst the colleges

through capital investment, for instance, through setting specialist centres that require large sums

of investment, which in turn, will deter other colleges to compete for identical markets.

College HE leaders did not necessarily have access to accurate and adequate labour market

intelligence sources and any information held by specific unit within the colleges was seen to be

patchy and detached from those making strategic decisions about HE. Colleges did not understand

the ‘markets’ in which they were operating. It was recommended that the government could assist

by re-investing in the Sector Skills Councils.

In addition to the recommendations made by the interviewees, the research team recommends

that an integrated dataset for prescribed HE and NPHE is maintained, because dual reporting

systems do not help understand and interpret breadth and patterns in CHE.