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Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker (University of Birmingham) - 'Who wants to be an engineer? UTCs, vocational diversification and the experience of girls and boys from different social class backgrounds in England'

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) contribute to an increasingly complex landscape of education and training, promoted as a creative means of meeting the diverse educational needs of young people (Fuller and Unwin, 2011).

A Graduate School of Education seminar
Speaker(s)Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker (University of Birmingham)
Date25 November 2014
Time17:00
PlaceEMS Building G18

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) contribute to an increasingly complex landscape of education and training, promoted as a creative means of meeting the diverse educational needs of young people (Fuller and Unwin, 2011). UTCs respond in particular to national and international policy agendas that seek to promote participation in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). They have been championed by the Edge Foundation as providing a ‘highly regarded’ course of study ‘with clear progression routes into higher education or further learning in work’, especially careers in technician and degree level engineering. However, as yet, we know very little about whether young people and their parents understand the different options available, how decisions to attend a UTC are made, nor whether the education offered in these new institutions enhances or conversely limits the opportunities of students who attend them. This paper draws on data from a British Academy funded project (co-investigator: Dr Nicola Ingram, University of Bath) that carried out detailed case studies in two UTCs in England. The project addressed the following core question: What impact does vocational diversification in the form of UTCs have on the decision-making and experience of boys and girls from different class backgrounds? The research used a holistic approach focusing on the whole institution in relation to the introduction and development of new educational policies. This encompassed analysis of ‘the situated, material, professional and external dimensions’ (Braun et al 2011: 585) of the schools, recognising the schools’ origins (and that of their communities), their ethos and culture, their physical environment and resources, their staff, and students as well as external influences. The paper offers an analysis of the enactment of policy (Ball et al, 2011) in the two case study institutions, and considers how these enactments may reinforce or challenge historical patterns of gender and class divisions in vocational education in England.

Speaker Biography

Ann-Marie Bathmaker is Professor of Vocational and Higher Education at the University of Birmingham, UK. She started her career in secondary and post-secondary education in England, working in provision for English for Speakers of Other Languages, and in technical and vocational education. She worked as a local authority advisor for equal opportunities and technical and vocational education, before moving into higher education. She directed the Bristol Research Centre in Lifelong Learning and Education at UWE Bristol with Professors Jacky Brine and David James, and in 2012 moved to the University of Birmingham. Recent research projects include:


• Who wants to be an engineer? A study of social class, gender and what it means to attend a University Technical College.
• The role of higher education in social mobility: the Paired Peers project
• Knowledge in vocational education: constructions of knowledge in general vocational qualifications in England.
• The FurtherHigher Project: a study of widening participation in new forms of higher education in ‘dual sector’ FE/HE institutions
• DISCO: the construction of a multi-lingual vocational thesaurus to support European mobility
 

A recording of this seminar can be found here.


Intended audienceStaff and students from Exeter University, visitors from other educational institutions and partnership schools.
Registration informationBooking is not required.
CostNone.
OrganizerNatasha Simcock
Tel01392726409
Email
Attachments
Ann_Marie_Bathmaker_presentation.pdfPresentation slides (347K)

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