Student welfare: complexity, dilemmas and contradictions

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The role of the education sector has expanded into areas of social welfare. A key influence, relates to the disintegration of public-funded organisations responsible for mental health and social welfare provision. This article considers the policy drive for a broadened welfare mandate within education settings. Drawing on illustrations of welfare-orientated teaching, the article explores the extent to which a welfare agenda influenced teaching practise and education provision for marginalised youth enrolled on an employability course in an FE college. During academic years 2013 to 2015, empirical research was conducted with seven tutors and 26 students enrolled on a Level 1 employability course at a large FE college in South East England. Key findings discovered that there was a disproportionate focus on welfare duties when teaching youth with complex backgrounds. Fieldwork data mainly highlighted complications, contradictions and the counter-productive nature of welfare-orientated teaching: it gave rise to ‘social welfare tutors’; they have a diminished academic focus and were wholly engaged in welfare duties, reducing the course to something akin to therapy and welfare practise. Despite good intentions, generally, such practise directly reinforced disadvantage and marginalised participants from essential provision that granted access to a range of further study and training opportunities within the setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Post-Compulsory Education
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019

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