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Title: Further education college quality systems : a framework of design principles for the development of teaching quality improvement processes
Author: Albury, Steven William
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 5650
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This research is a case study of the quality improvement process in an English further education college. It examines the way that staff involved in the design and operation of the quality system shape the process in a part of the education sector that struggles with issues of performance. The case is placed into the context of an unstable policy environment, where further education colleges have been subjected to frequent bouts of government intervention and a funding regime that is unfavourable when compared to secondary schools and universities. The contribution to knowledge of this thesis is that it addresses an under-researched area of further education by viewing the quality process from the perspective of the governors, managers and professional staff responsible for its design and operation. As such it addresses a problem where a lot of attention has been given to teaching staff who experience the quality process or to macro studies where the focus is on outputs in the sector. However, less attention has been paid to the governors, senior staff and quality teams who assess teaching and learning in colleges. The data for the case study were gathered over a two-year period between 2010-2012 and include interviews with college staff, senior staff from OFSTED and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and staff from a second college, used to help verify the findings. In addition to this, documentation for the quality system was gathered including inspection documents and policy documents. The data were analysed in order to surface traits of social and organisational practice that address the problem of operating a quality system in an environment that is highly resistant to systemisation and predictability. The findings are presented as 'fuzzy' generalisations supplemented by guidance in the form of design principles. The thesis provides an empirically grounded description of key elements of the relationships and the surrounding sociotechnical system that were found in the case. The design principles augment the case study and provide guidance on how a combination of trust relationships, resilience of processes to disruption and flexibility of application provide a background for the quality improvement process at Stretchford College, which was rated as 'Outstanding' at the time of the research.
Supervisor: Davies, Chris ; Jirotka, Marina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Postsecondary Education--Evaluation ; Universities and colleges--Great Britain--Administration ; Educational evaluation ; Education--Quality control