Apology for radio critique

November 2, 2001

College heads have called for the resignation of Learning and Skills Council chief executive John Harwood following his criticism of further education standards on national radio.

Mr Harwood has issued an apology to all college chiefs for his remarks on the BBC's Today programme two weeks ago, condemning 40 per cent of FE provision as "unacceptable" and 5 per cent as "appalling".

In a letter circulated to all colleges last Friday, he said: "The effect of my words on Radio 4 and their interpretation were neither what I intended nor wish to allow to persist... I need not only to make clear what I meant but to say sorry for the effects they have had on you and your colleagues."

The Association of Colleges chief executive David Gibson has written to his members pointing out that the former Further Education Funding Council inspectorate concluded that 6 per cent of colleges were outstanding, 44 per cent were good, and 44 per cent satisfactory.

A spokeswoman for the AoC said some college heads were so angry that they had called for Mr Harwood's resignation or a vote of no confidence in him.

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