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Developing the mathematics teacher workforce in England’s FE colleges: towards a ‘communities of practice’ strategy

Dalby, Diane; Noyes, Andrew


Senior Research Fellow


Since policy changes in 2014 about who studies mathematics post-16 in England, the mathematics teaching workforce in further education (FE) colleges has grown and diversified. The question of how best to develop the professional practice of this changing workforce is, however, unresolved. Teachers in a recent national study report the benefits of non-formal learning but the diverse organisational structures of colleges impact on the size and focus of teacher communities and thereby the nature of professional learning. Where mathematics teachers are enabled to meet regularly or work in close proximity, teacher learning communities emerge but their development is constrained by a lack of consensus on the professional identities and competencies of mathematics teachers in FE colleges. Despite these obstacles, we argue that there is considerable potential to enhance professional learning for mathematics teachers in FE through a communities of practice approach and that such a strategy for professional development is a key component of a self-improving further education system.


Dalby, D., & Noyes, A. (2022). Developing the mathematics teacher workforce in England’s FE colleges: towards a ‘communities of practice’ strategy. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 27(3), 413-435.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 17, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2022
Publication Date Jul 3, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 4, 2024
Journal Research in Post-Compulsory Education
Print ISSN 1359-6748
Electronic ISSN 1747-5112
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 413-435
Keywords Education
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Post-Compulsory Education on 12.8.22, available at: