Inclusive further education in a market economy
This research evaluates the process of providing an inclusive education in a market culture. It investigates the experiences of eight young people with learning difficulties and disabilities who are students in a further education college. As it applies a focus to one specific case study example, in order to generalise from the literature and two other sample colleges, it represents ethnographic methodology. This is appropriate for the purposes of the study, which are to explore the implications of such processes, within an institutional and organisational structure which is subject to significant changes and restraints. The period under examination is one in which provision for this group of learners is influenced by a multiplicity of factors, not always evident on surface examination. Consequently, a focused ethnographic case study allows for a level of detailed analysis which can illuminate the effects of organisational changes upon individual development. The context in which the case study is set includes the plethora of Further Education Funding Council documentation during the 1990s, the critiques offered by academics of a narrowly competence-based and outcomes-related system, and the implications for students with special educational needs in further education colleges of the recent Dearing Report (1996) and soon to be published Tomlinson Report (1996). The case study provides an illustration of issues raised in recent literature and is set within the broader framework of recent initiatives. Through the use of detailed evaluation of a sample of students progressing through the assessment process in one college, recommendations and reflections contribute original evidence of the influence of legislation on current practice. Using the model of further education, tensions between an inclusive ideology and the demands of a market economy are evaluated and the case-study evidence has application beyond this sector to other areas of educational developments.