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.



In this video, Jacqui speaks about how she left school labelled as ‘not bright’, then, following re-engagement in education at her local college her world opened up in so many empowering  ways. Her return to education was connected to a hope for more fulfilling work and a need to support her family. She outlines how…

Have a Merry and a Hopeful Xmas!

We have had an inspiring year, listening to the voices of teachers and learners. Carrying out research in different colleges and other further education providers  has offered rich insights into the amazing work of teachers, learners and others involved in further education. The stories recorded and shared on this site (and some we haven’t) have…

The Principal

Scroll down for video Curtis Tappenden is a teacher who has featured already on this site. Apart from being an inspirational teacher, he was involved in the Reimagining Further Education Conference in July 2017. He has been involved in the UCU FE transforming lives and communities from early on. Curtis takes up the story: Networking…