I attended the Further Education Research Network spring conference at City of Glasgow College yesterday. The FERN group are a collection of individuals from across the FE college sector in Scotland that meet occasionally, formally and informally.
There were useful workshops with a mix of activities to do with beginning research, employability, educational policy, technology and widening access.
The most interesting aspects of the day were the keynote speakers. There was a gentleman from East Lothian who is a director for educational services. He spoke very much from the heart about a range of things, however focused upon how educational managers need to stop acting like businessmen and start thinking like educators - something that I wholly agree with. He also demonstrated a model of the '7 sides of educational leadership' and how it is useful in making decisions. I took part in the exercise and it turns out I am a parent, a villager and a gardener!
The other speaker was the head of learning and teaching at the University of Dundee. The presentation was about policy and pedagogy in the FE sector. This was very interesting in that discussion took place around the need for a professional body for lecturers in Scotland. Apparently these proposals were put forward a few years ago, but were rejected by various funding and education bodies. The collective at the conference mooted that there still needs to be a platform for voices to be heard, particularly in these troubled times in Scottish FE. Other than that it was good to get out and meet some familiar faces and make some new connections.