The last 20 years has seen a significant rise in the number of university-level programmes embedding work-based learning and assessment alongside more traditional pedagogical models (Lester and Costley 2010). These changes have been developed partly in response to demands by both governments and students to make higher education ‘work-relevant’ in order to address the changing nature of the wider economy and to support accountability agendas (Brodie and Irving 2007). In particular, education studies programmes which have evolved from teacher education often have a strong vocational focus, bringing together theoretical and work-focused knowledge to support the development of current and future education professionals. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject Benchmark Statement for Education Studies states:
An education studies programme provides the knowledge, understanding and critical analysis to inform current and future professionals. This may be achieved through learning in the workplace. The subject offers individuals a strong basis for a wide range of further education, training and employment opportunities.