Further education participation, European expansion and European Erasure
Brine, J. (2002) Further education participation, European expansion and European Erasure. British Educational Research Journal, 28 (1). pp. 21-36. ISSN 1469-3518
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411920120109720
From within the context of the planned expansion of the European Union (EU) to include the 12 applicant states from central and eastern Europe and the predicted reduction of the European financial support given to the UK, the article draws on empirical data to explore the impact of the European Social Fund (ESF) on the further education sector and the process of widening participation. Despite the significance of the ESF in implementing vocational education and training (VET) policy, it has been consistently erased by both the Conservative and Labour administrations. Whereas this erasure can be traced back to Britain's membership in 1973, the focus of the article is on the peirod 1997-2000, for Labour's Welfare to Work policies draw heavily on the financial support given by the EU trhough the ESF. It is suggested that, whereas the continued erasure of the Fund can be contextualised by the continued (and poltically contentious) membership of the EU, its public erasure enables it to play a vital, flexible and unaccountable role in the VET policies of Conservative and Labour administrations.