Corporatism as a cultural strategy: The demise of "Access" in the UK?

Year: 1994

Author: McFadden, Mark

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Access courses are offered in Further Education (FE) colleges in the UK and until 1995 have been funded through grants tied to Section 11 of the Race Relations Act. These courses offer students from "New Commonwealth backgrounds"-particularly those of Afro-Caribbean and Asian background-who might otherwise not have the opportunity to access higher education the chance to enter universities and complete an appropriate undergraduate degree program.

As colleges move to corporate funding, and as the source of allocated funding for Access courses from the provisions of the Race Relations Act dries up, it is timely to investigate the likely impact of such changes on the pattern of offerings of Access courses and the consequent effect on students. Throughout the first half of 1994, interviews were conducted with regional administrators, curriculum officers and course directors involved in Access education in the Birmingham area. Interviews were also conducted with over 30 Access students at two FE colleges in this area. Students returning to mainstream education via the Access route are attempting to influence the course of their lives. The effect of broad government policy such as corporatism can have a dramatic effect on their ability to make positive choices about their educational options.