This report will first of all have an intrinsic approach to some of the literature prior to the Learning and Skills Act (2000) and the Success for All policy (2002), especially to Ann Briggs and her analysis on the role of middle managers in further education. Subsequently, following on an account of the general demographic and social variables that characterize the population of West London, we will be aiming at drawing relevant conclusions on the influence that the Learning and Skills Act and the Success for All programme has on constant improvement of teaching here. The second part of the paper will aim an unbiased approach on competition vs. collaboration between the FE College I teach in and other relevant Post Compulsory units in the area, drawing on relevant conclusions to support good practice related to quality improvement.
Before the two important reforms in 2000 and 2002 previously mentioned referring to FE units, change began during the 90s, when the FE colleges in Britain were made independent of the Local Education Authority (LEA) in terms of control over finance or human resource. This meant both that the FE colleges were fully responsible both for the proper management of functions such as finance or human resource and that (especially after the creation of the Further Education Funding College in 2001) they had to managerially perform in order to be eligible for funding3.
In the context of our paper, this has several different implications. First of all, we can point out towards the need for constant quality improvement and improvement of the overall performance at the FE colleges. Second of all, we note the development of a certain competition between different colleges in the same area, the need to perform well in the college evaluations and inspections and improve their ratings with the FE Funding College (relevant for our second part, referring to competition vs. collaboration between colleges).
The first implication we have referred to has lead to significant literature in the area of defining the concepts of managerialism and professionalism, initially described by Lumby and Tomlinson as "oppositional cultures"4. As Briggs further points out, there are several levels of accountability that need to be remembered when referring to FE colleges and their performances. There is the political accountability (use of public funds), market accountability (responsible to the market, the customers, the stakeholders), professional or cultural accountability5.
Following the Success for All program of 2002, the main goals that the program approached included a (1) reform in pattern so that it meets the future needs of learners, employers and communities, (2) a drive up of standards of further education and training and (3) to ensure that the final recipients of public funding (the FE colleges) "deliver a distinctive and effective contribution" to the Government's educational strategies6.
The Learning and Skills Act of 2000 follows, more or less, the same direction (or rather lays it out), bearing additional administrative components with the creation and the definition of