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By Frank Coffield, Sheila Edward, Ian Finlay, Ann Hodgson

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Additional resources for Improving Learning, Skills and Inclusion: The Impact of Policy on Post-Compulsory Education (Improving Learning Tlrp)

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We have sought to understand how these policy levers interact at different levels within the sector, within different phases of policy, with different local ecologies and at various levels within institutions. Moreover, we observed the interactions between policy levers (such as funding and targets), which led to some powerful and unpredicted outcomes; unpredicted, we suspect, even by those who had devised the levers. , the Education Maintenance Allowance) and others, such as Skills for Life, which had an impact on almost every aspect of teaching and learning of 40 What are the issues?

Chapter 2 Studying the learning and skills sector Introduction We began work in January 2004 and finished forty-three months later in July 2007, and in the process we became one of the few constants in the learning and skills sector, where staff, agencies and initiatives come and go. Our overall aim was to explore the impact of national policy on learning and inclusion in this sector. Our three main objectives were: • • • to study the roles and relationships between the key partners within the LSS, by studying the impact of five policy levers: targets, funding, planning, inspection and initiatives such as Skills for Life (SfL); to test how inclusive the new sector is; to develop and test a model of an effective and inclusive local learning system.

The chapter ends with a set of crucial questions which we have asked ourselves throughout this study, and which we attempt to answer in the final chapter. We have decided to present the data we collected as a series of narratives or stories, partly because narrative is a useful structure for organising it and partly because, as Jerome Bruner pointed out, ‘stories worth telling . . are typically born in trouble’ (Bruner 1996: 142). And The turbulent world of learning and skills 27 the stories we have to tell, when taken together, speak of a turbulent world which is entering a new and uncertain phase.

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