Post-16 Educator

by and for practitioners and activists . . .


Post-16 Educator is a quarterly magazine produced by and for activists in all sectors of post compulsory education.

General Studies Project

Set up in July 2013, the Project aims to recapture the experience of those involved with Liberal Studies, General Studies and General and Communication Studies.

If you were a lecturer in this field, and/or you’re in touch with someone who is or was, and you’d like to be involved in this research, please contact us at this email address.

To all UCU and other union branches with an interest in further, adult and higher education, the magazine is a 24-page quarterly produced entirely by and for practitioners and activists in these sectors

If your branch would like to arrange a subscription, please contact the editor on and let us know how many copies you would like, whether you would want a PDF of each issue etc, and we will get back to you with a suggested subscription rate. For individual or regular individual subs go to Subscriptions.

The Real Radical Education?

Liberal and General Studies with vocational students in UK colleges 1950-1990 as revealed through interviews with practitioners who taught it.

Bulletin 1: origins; purpose; context October 2017

Bulletin 2: history; aims; legacy    November 2018

A Post-16 Educator occasional publication


Latest Post-16 Educator

Issue 103, April to June 2021



Rob Peutrell introduces this issue's sequence of articles on the FE White Paper.

FE: its past, present and possible future

Colin Waugh describes how FE has come to its present state and suggests some steps that activists could take.

Betraying another generation

David Ridley diagnoses the current situation of young adults and argues for a changed orientation.

Another round of vocational qualifications won't create better jobs

Martin Allen argues for a broader curriculum and proper job creation.

The FE White Paper, an immediate reaction

Patrick Ainley looks at the socio-economic background to which the White Paper purports to respond.

A monocular perception

Rob Smith critiques the White Paper's assumptions about the purpose of FE.

FE White Paper another wasted opportunity

Paul Wilkinson focuses on the White Paper's funding shortcomings.

Trade Union Education and the White Paper: true lifelong learning

Janet Farrar identifies the potential benefits of some commitments made in the White Paper.

Responding to the White Paper – role of the private sector

Jane Lethbridge questions the increased role for employers announced in the White Paper.

VET, post-secondary education – a new settlement?

James Avis uses the concept of settlement to analyse the current situation.

Educating the future electorate

Stephen Lambert emphasises the need for citizenship education.

Whither political education in the face of cultural hegemony?

Dave Berry argues for dialogue-centred Independent Working-Class Education (IWCE).

pdf versions of the articles can be downloaded by clicking the
icon. Please visit the Archive for electronic copies of past articles

Articles, photos etc. wanted:

The editors welcome articles by and/or for practitioners and intending practitioners in any area of post-16 education, especially by women, plus letters, news items, materials and illustrations. Articles can be published without the author’s name if desired. Contact us at


About PSE

The Editorial Board

The editorial board consists of grass roots activists from UCU and the NUT working together to organise readers and contributors into a national network that is democratic, that develops our practice and our thinking, and that equips us to take action over issues rather than always having to react to changes imposed from above.

The editors welcome articles of any length by and/or for practitioners and intending practitioners in any area of post-16 education, especially by women, plus letters, news items, photographs, materials and illustrations. Articles can be published anonymously if required.


There are several real debates going on in post-16 education at the moment. Practitioners need to engage in these debates before decisions get made. Post-16 Educator covers all the major issues in the post-compulsory sector.

Each bi-monthly issue includes news and commentary from those working within post compulsory education, plus regular contributions from other interested activists. Comprehensive news coverage picks up on reports in national and local media, together with academic and government papers relevant to the sector. Recent features have included the Israeli academics boycott, prisoner education, teaching practice and the recently formed University and College Union (UCU).


Any individual or organisation can subscribe. Annual rates  (4 copies) range from £3.00 (unwaged) to an institutional rate of £25 each year. Please click here for details of subscriptions.

Subscribe to PSE

In addition to the free online content, you can subscribe and support PSE and receive 4 paper copies each year from only £3. Click here for further details.

100 Years On From The Ruskin Strike


The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education, a PSE occasional publication by Colin Waugh


ONLINE DISCUSSION: PSE Meeting Professionalism 2

Our contested professionalism

Lesson Observation - top-down or democratic control    

Wednesday May 26th: 6.30-7.30 

Zoom link: 

Discussion with: Professor Matt O'Leary (Author of 'Classroom' and researcher on lesson observation and teacher professionalism) 

& Nina Doran (FE Teacher Educator / member of UCU National Executive Committee)

Our second discussion on teacher professionalism focuses on Lesson Observation and similar mechanisms. Along with so-called Learning Walks and TLA Reviews, Lesson Observations so  often cause frustration and disengagement but with little positive effect on what we do. Yet, observation can be a tool for genuine professional learning; evaluating practice can be more than a perfunctory post-observation confessional!

In this discussion, we're interested in the experience of observation and similar practices of both those who are observed and those who do the observing. 

•How are these mechanisms used to regulate and limit teachers? 

•What part might they play in a genuinely teacher-controlled, collegial, pedagogically-enriching professional learning? Are there examples in the sector we can learn from? 

•And importantly, how can teacher activists mobilise around these issues in the interests of a democratic professionalism?


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