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Your article on the "feud" between the Colleges' Employers' Forum and the Association for Colleges disregards a third major player, the APC (the Association of Principals of Colleges).

Many principals who regard the AFC as redundant do not see the CEF as the appropriate organisation for performing the "lobby role" for the sector; and my understanding is that this is a view shared by the CEF.

Whatever may be thought of the way in which the CEF initially pursued the contract issue, that is only one issue and will ultimately disappear.

More importantly, the CEF has proved to be a highly effective and professional organisation in providing advice and help on the whole range of staffing-related issues which the new corporations have had to tackle themselves for the first time.

I suspect that many colleges, such as this one, will quietly fail to renew their subscriptions to the AFC when their trial year runs out but will be much more reluctant to abandon the advice and protection afforded by the CEF.

The APC is the obvious organisation to represent further education: in the same manner as the National Association of Headteachers represents the secondary sector; the Headmasters' Conference, the private sector and the Association of Vice Chancellors, higher education.

GERARD O'DONNELL

Principal

West Thames College

London Road

Isleworth

Middlesex

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