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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Jonathan Tummons

Tummons, J. (2016). ‘Very positive’ or ‘vague and detached’? Unpacking ambiguities in further education teachers’ responses to professional standards in England. Research in Post-Compulsory Education 21(4): 346-359.

Author(s) from Durham


During the last two decades, a number of successive policy initiatives have attempted to professionalise the further education sector in England: professional qualifications have been rewritten, made compulsory and then returned to voluntary status; professional bodies have been established, briefly promoted, and then neglected; professional licences have been considered and rejected; and a new professional status has been introduced. This article, which combines both theoretical and empirical perspectives, argues that all of these processes of professionalisation are problematic due to the inherent flaws in any set of professional standards, and that the ambiguous manner in which the latest set of professional standards is being read and understood by practitioners within the sector reflects a continuation of a flawed process of professionalisation in further education that has been underway since 1999.