How 'terrible'

August 19, 2010

I am saddened but not surprised by the University and College Union's response to the pay award that we have made at Regent's College ("Private virtues include 3% pay rise for staff", 12 August). It is difficult to understand how the union can claim (unspecified) deterioration in our employment terms and conditions.

There have been no redundancies here. The college has maintained its staff-to-student ratio. Increasing numbers of academic staff are being placed on permanent contracts at higher salaries than our visiting-lecturer rate. Our maximum teaching commitment is 500 hours before remission, which is below UCU's own agreement. We have increased leave, paid sickness absence, pension contributions, training opportunities and research support. These "detriments" must be why we are seeing more and more applications for every post.

The one thing that we do agree on is that we do not "hope to replicate" the publicly funded academy. Regent's is a not-for-profit institution that offers an international perspective and learning experience and will continue to do so.

There is plenty of room in the sector for many different types of institution that can provide a variety of learning experiences to meet the needs and aspirations of different student groups. What is holding the UK sector back and damaging our international reputation is the "one-size-fits-all" approach of organisations such as the UCU.

Aldwyn Cooper, Chief executive and principal, Regent's College.

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