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Employer and needs-led curriculum planning in higher education: a cross-sector case study of foundation degree development

Foskett, Rosalind (2003) Employer and needs-led curriculum planning in higher education: a cross-sector case study of foundation degree development At British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2003. 11 - 13 Sep 2003. 12 pp.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


The emergence of Foundation Degree programmes in response to employer workforce development needs provides a rich but as yet poorly explored environment for the study of curriculum innovation in the context of cross-sector partnerships in post-compulsory education. This paper presents the findings of a case study of curriculum planning of three foundation degree programmes developed by consortia involving employer groups in both the private and public sectors, six further education colleges, and the University of Southampton. All three sectors shared a common goal of widening participation, yet contrasts in the range of other aims that each sought from this initiative generated significant challenges to the curriculum developers.
This study draws on evidence from documentary analysis, participant observation, and informal interviews of the major stakeholders over a period of two years. The process of curriculum development within the new paradigm of foundation degrees is contrasted with established models of curriculum innovation in higher and further education, and in the workplace. This paper highlights the barriers to effective curriculum change within partnership contexts, which include cultural disparities, learner support, resource allocations and diversity of expectation between the stakeholders. Benefits also accrue: the admixture of perspectives and the variety of problem-solving approaches used by the different partners in their various professional contexts brings both tensions and unpredicted creativity to the shaping of the emergent curriculum. In this way the needs of a diverse student body and the employers can be met successfully, and each of the sectors in the partnership gains insights into curriculum possibilities that can be transferred to new workplaces and other contexts.

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Published date: September 2003
Venue - Dates: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2003, 2003-09-11 - 2003-09-13
Keywords: foundation degrees, higher education, post-compulsory education, further education, collaboration, curriculum development, employers


Local EPrints ID: 12703
PURE UUID: fdb9dd33-dcb3-4e26-862a-6f283b956bd5

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Date deposited: 13 Dec 2004
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:02

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