An Exploration of Diverse Historical Influences on Leading and Managing Continuing Professional Development in Colleges in the Post-Incorporated English Further Education Sector

Cartwright, Marion (2020). An Exploration of Diverse Historical Influences on Leading and Managing Continuing Professional Development in Colleges in the Post-Incorporated English Further Education Sector. PhD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

This thesis explores the development of diverse historical influences on the leadership and management of continuing professional development (CPD), within post-incorporated general further education (FE) colleges in England. It has a central focus on the period of the first two decades after 1993 when colleges had left local authority control on incorporation. Underlying the research questions is a consideration of the educational, professional and business orientations of individual leaders, and the extent to which nuanced influences on CPD leadership co-exist, are balanced or in conflict, within the process of leaders mediating, translating and applying sector CPD policy in colleges. The combination of professional life history reflective data used with that of historical public documentary data aims to offer deeper insights into the range and relationship between the influences involved. The effect and differentiation of influences on CPD leadership and management approaches is considered within diverse college internal and external policy contexts of middle and senior managers, and at departmental and cross-college levels. Leaders’ and managers’ approaches to staff support and development are considered in the light of their own professional experiences, the ongoing changing requirements of external policy and resource boundaries as well as subject, skill and knowledge development and scope for individual staff professional enhancement. The scope of CPD leadership was taken to be as wide as that understood by the leaders and managers. The associated concepts of scope for leadership and management agency, internal organisational and internal and external accountabilities, and effects of staff identities in FE are evaluated. Whilst contributing to knowledge and understanding of this area, there is potential for collaborative sharing of leadership experience of the findings which could lead to more effective sharing of expertise, whilst enhancing organisational staff capacity and staffing strategies. There is potential for further research into leadership of CPD access particularly for the significant body of part-time staff in colleges.

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