Governing of Teaching and Learning: is it still important? Report of the Governing Working Group

Colin Forrest, Jill Westerman (CBE)

Abstract


This paper has its origin in the Reimagining Further Education 2018 conference which revisited Coffield’s 2008 paper ‘Just Imagine that Teaching and Learning were the first priority.” The authors offered a working group ‘Centring Governing on Teaching and Learning’. Despite heavy promotion by the conference organisers, no one signed up for it. In examining reasons for this, we build on the assumption that the understanding of teaching and learning needs improving at board level.

The paper draws on the narrative of the conference and its working groups in building support for this proposition and suggests three challenges that contribute to the low priority that teaching and learning is given at board discussions. These relate to governance codes, the need to reconceptualise what teaching and learning looks like in an employer-led system, and tensions caused by contested priorities for further education providers.   

The working group model was intended to solicit solutions from the delegates to these challenges. In the concluding section of the paper we propose what these remedies might have been. In adopting an optimistic tone, we suggest that ‘governing’ provides an action-focussed alternative to ‘governance’. This needs to be supported by sense-making activity that develops governor capacity to appreciate the nature of teaching and learning in contemporary further education settings. We suggest that this can be contextualised by including a reflection at all meetings of boards on the impact of discussions on the quality of teaching and learning.

Key words: governing, governance, teaching and learning, further education, governance codes


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References


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