This paper contextualises the Further Education (FE) sector in Northern Ireland (NI). It outlines the specific political, social and economic influences that have shaped its position as a major but understated educational provider in what remains a highly divided educational system that is slowly transitioning in a post-conflict environment. Key policy frameworks underpinning sectoral development are described, showing how many policy initiatives have been both ‘borrowed’ from the English context and adapted to local need. The article proceeds to highlight a number of curricular and institutional innovations that have contributed to the development of a small-scale, but distinctive educational, social and economic model. The piece concludes by suggesting that the NI FE experience has the potential to contribute not only to its own specific conditions but, through its ‘policy and practice’ adaptations’, to positively influence FE policy and practice in other parts of the United Kingdom (UK) that require interventions around skills development economic growth and social cohesion.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Education and Work|
|Early online date||29 May 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 31 May 2019|
- Northern Ireland
- further education
- policy and practice