Transitions to Further Education: Crossing the FE bridge

Amanda Thomas, Rhiannon Packer

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Transition is a complex process and the process of transition to any educational setting involves a number of stakeholders. The move from compulsory education into Further Education (FE) is seen as a significant rite of passage and a key element in the process of becoming an adult. Emerging independence and exploration of self-identity are fundamental in adulthood; however, individuals often need guidance and support during this process. There’s a wealth of research available on the social, emotional and academic impact of transition on learners, and yet the voices of those most involved in the transition process – the students themselves – often are not heard. We were interested in hearing what those voices had to say about their experiences of leaving school and entering FE.

Traditionally, transition was seen as a one-off event, a visit to the new setting constituting, at best, a small part of the overall experience. Transition processes now encompasses far than this, with numerous transition events incorporated into the typical academic timetable, This involved transition process can be seen as a bridge, with pillars of support either side for facilitating learners’ journey from A (the school setting) to B (the FE college).

Using an interpretive methodology, the voices of key stakeholders in the transition to FE were sought and recorded to explore and inform good practice. Data were collected using online and paper questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationTCELT
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


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