A punishment for no crime

May 23, 1997

ANTHEA MILLETT's letter about La Sainte Union, Southampton (THES, May 16), prompts two comments.

The decision of the governing body not to appeal against withdrawal of its accreditation by the Teacher Training Agency, was taken because we put our students' interests first. If LSU had appealed the process would have taken a long time, longer than would have been required to assure our students that they could continue their courses, and longer for any alternative provider to make alternative arrangements for those students. If these constraints had not been present, I would have been in favour of an appeal.

LSU presented TTA staff with a three-year action plan in January 1996. The first re-inspection took place within six to seven months of that plan. At no point was LSU told a three-year plan was unacceptable. But the TTA, in taking its decision, appears to have ignored the progress made against that plan. The Ofsted report notes the major changes that had been put in place. At LSU we are all concerned as to whether or not justice has been done or been seen to be done and we are all concerned whether our punishment is proportional to the problem. I believe the Government and the taxpayers have a right to know how much it has cost the public purse to fund teacher training at LSU since the three-year action plan was lodged, and how much money it has cost the public purse to "rescue" the students already on courses by means of the funds allocated to the alternative providers and other agents.

Anand C. Chitnis, Principal, La Sainte Union College of Higher Education

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