Letter: Shore-up not shatter

July 27, 2001

Redbridge College's failure to reach government teaching standards ("Colleges given ultimatum after Ofsted reports", THES , July 13) is hardly surprising when 25 per cent of staff left this year, six in ten see no long-term future and several face redundancy.

With morale this low, teaching will be affected. But Redbridge is part of a larger problem. Further education is underfunded, poorly paid and undervalued, despite its importance to government vocational and access policy.

In the next two years, funding per student will fall by 5 per cent. Lecturers know they can earn more in schools. Instead of threatening to withdraw funding from underperforming colleges or hinting at the use of private companies, the government would do better to shore up core services and invest in staff - most of whom are doing a marvellous job with too few resources.

Paul Mackney
General secretary, Natfhe

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