Abi: access student

My life had come crashing down. I’d lost a lot of my confidence. I had heard about this course. I signed up and it changed my life.

Claire: teacher educator

'I think it's important for my students to become critical and to look at the world around them.'


Overview of the project


Transformational Further Education: Empowering People & Communities.

This research aims to understand and provide evidence of how the further education (FE) sector is vital in transforming lives and communities in 21st century Britain. To provide a frame of reference, which is underpinned and driven by excellence in the sector, the study will provide learners and teachers with the opportunity to tell their stories, linking the distinctness of FE to the impact it has on individuals, society and the economy, and strongly drawing out the role of the teacher in making a difference to quality teaching and learning.

vickyThe two researchers undertaking this project, Vicky Duckworth and Rob Smith aim to inform and facilitate UCU’sfunding-interview empowering and inclusive vision of FE and will be a rich source of evidence to draw upon in campaigning work in order to influence policy makers and shape policy.

Watch our introductory video below.


Jacqui, Assistant Principal (video #2): Colleges and their communities

In this second extract from her interview, Jacqui talks about the vital community work colleges are involved in. Jacqui’s interview positions colleges at the heart of the communities in which they are situated. She links further education colleges’ work to wider social issues such as addressing the effects of poverty and issues of mental health.…

Jacqui: Assistant Principal

In this interview, Jacqui talks about her work as a teacher in a further education college in Birmingham.     She outlines the vital work colleges do that is often overlooked, such as: working with gang members and with young people who have not thrived at school.       She recounts stories in which…

Transformative research about transforming lives through learning

I have been following for a long while the valuable project “Transformational Further Education: Empowering People & Communities”, the culmination of research based on the very many inspiring stories from learners and teachers, collated by Dr Vicky Duckworth and Dr Rob Smith. It was brought to life on the very first occasion I had the…

FE that made me a better person

At 16, I was buried under GCSE stress, not quite fitting in, and ready to get out of my small town. I was looking for colleges, and I, for whatever reason, may it be the location, the hot-spot of culture, or the people, decided that I was undeniably going to attend The Manchester College. That…