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Cinderella and other stories…an exploration of practitioners’ views on bringing further education out of the shadowsFurther education (FE) has frequently been portrayed as «the Cinderella service» in relation to other phases; a «submerged space» operating below the surface and out of sight of mainstream educational policy in England. A contrasting view depicts a sector often considered a panacea for social concerns. FE is charged with supplying a skilled workforce and has been portrayed as a vehicle for enhancing economic development (DfEE 1998, Leitch 2006). Despite this it has repeatedly suffered funding cuts (Tickle 2014) alongside imposed political change. This research explores the stories of tutors and managers affected by managerial processes in English FE. The findings revealed the impact of corporatisation on leadership as well as on tutor and student agency and explored how professional collaboration enabled practitioners to challenge the prevailing systems-driven culture in ways which would help the sector step out of the shadows.