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'Achievement' cash derided in Glasgow

John Wheatley College, which serves Easterhouse and the east end of Glasgow, has condemned the suggestion of a student achievement fund as "a brutally blunt measure" that could undermine the Government's drive to counter social exclusion.

This negative effect would be reinforced if funding is removed from non-certificated courses and if colleges, particularly in deprived areas, are not compensated when they waive student fees.

The college fears that tying funding to achievement may force institutions to be more selective and exclude "difficult" students. It could also depress standards as lecturers come under pressure to pass marginal students.

There should be a more "sophisticated and more realistic" means of assessing quality in FE, John Wheatley says. But the fact that this requires research is another reason for postponing the introduction of any changes.

Ian Graham, the principal, says: "I should hesitate to call this policy cake half-baked since it is clear that its ingredients are not yet even half-mixed. "

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