Ireland A, Pennacchia J, Watson C & Bathmaker A (2022) How is the role of student governor understood in further education colleges in the UK?. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 46 (4), pp. 561-573. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2021.1986474
The appointment of student governors to the governing board is mandatory in further education (FE) colleges across the UK. There is, however, confusion and lack of clarity over the role of the student governor, and little empirical research, especially involving direct observation, has been undertaken which sheds light on this. This paper examines how the role of the student governor is understood by governing boards and how it is enacted in practice. Over one calendar year, we observed and video/audio-recorded governing board meetings in eight FE colleges across the UK, two in each UK country (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales). In addition, we interviewed key actors and spoke to student governors. Our findings reveal a lack of understanding about the role of the student governor which creates a tension between student governors acting in an advisory capacity as part of the governing body, and student governors representing learner voice. We conclude with recommendations for boards aimed at facilitating meaningful engagement of the student governor in governing processes.
Student governor; education governance; further education; learner voice; student voice
Journal of Further and Higher Education: Volume 46, Issue 4