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Values in post-compulsory education - the divide between public statements, private discourse and operational practices

Finlay, I. and Finnie, C. (2002) Values in post-compulsory education - the divide between public statements, private discourse and operational practices. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 26 (2). pp. 149-157. ISSN 0309-877X

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Abstract

This article is a set of reflections based on research into the secondary school/further education college interface over the past five years. The research highlighted a number of issues relating to values and management in post-compulsory education. These issues will be explored in the article. The setting up of the quasi-market in post-compulsory education has led to a tension between liberal democratic and economic instrumentalist values. For example, the officially stated policies may emphasise collaboration between school and colleges yet at the operational level school leaders accuse colleges of 'poaching' pupils and college leaders accuse schools of 'hanging on' to pupils. There exists a discrepancy between the market-led managerialism which leads to young people being treated as commodities and the alternative market view of young people as potential or actual clients with educational or training needs to be met. There also exist alternative discourses on the nature of young people themselves which reflect value positions. The same young people perceived themselves as adults making rational decisions about their own futures. It is important that leaders and managers in post-compulsory education consider these differing value positions.