Further education research

Explore our research into further education

England’s further education (FE) sector is a key part of the wider educational offering to students. Further education providers include colleges, sixth forms, specialist colleges (in areas such as agriculture and arts), independent training providers, adult community education and offender learning. 

The provision offered by the further education sector is broad and varied to meet the needs of its diverse student population. Programmes range from basic skills, vocational and technical qualifications to academic and higher education courses - all of which are designed to prepare students to progress onto higher study and/or employment. Courses are also developed to to support students in the workplace, extending their technical skills and academic knowledge to enhance both their career prospects and their organisations' practice.

Our research into further education explores a multiplicity of further education opportunities, from adult education, transitions from military service, leadership and management, and further education student experience.

Our research focuses on the following key topics

  • Professional development for FE education teachers
  • Competency framework for FE middle managers
  • The Further Forces programme and military transitions to civilian life
  • The notion of performativity measures used within further education
  • The lived experience of degree apprentice students
  • Decision making processes of college students with regard to choices post-18

Research projects

  • Preparing for a career in FE teaching and training

    Work with the Education and Training Foundation to develop an online pre-ITE (Initial Teacher Education) programme designed for people considering a career in FE teaching.

  • Further Forces Programme

    In partnership with the Education and Training Foundation and Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Further Forces is a scheme to retrain Armed Forces Service Leavers to teach technical subjects, including Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in the Further Education (FE) and Skills Sector.

  • Teacher Development Programme

    The aims of the project are to up-skill existing trainers who have already completed a level 4 Certificate in Education and Training teaching qualification. 

Publication highlights

Our work is frequently published in leading academic journals, including Educational Management Administration and Leadership, International Journal of Training and Development, International Journal of Educational Research, Research in Post-Compulsory Education and Journal of Education and Work.

Discover our areas of expertise

Further education is one of our five areas of expertise in Education research - explore the others below.

Early years education

In this area of expertise, we're exploring the experiences and opportunities that play a role in the development of young children.

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Higher education

We're researching into issues in higher education, and finding solutions to them. Explore our higher education research.

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Gender, race and education

Our work is identifying, exploring and engaging with forms of discrimination across gender and race in the education system.

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Youth, development and social practices

Our work provides a platform that showcases research, innovation and wider activities being developed in collaboration with young people, community members and practitioner and academic colleagues.

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Interested in a PhD in Education?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees - including PhDs and MPhils - on our Education postgraduate research degrees page.