Attack on managers unfair and out-of-date

IT was disappointing to read the report of Paul Mackney's speech to the lecturers' union NATFHE's annual conference (TES, June 7) in which he appeared to suggest that there are too many college managers, and that they are "viewers" generating little at the point of learning. For an association that still claims to represent some college managers this seems a sadly inaccurate and outdated point of view.

Office for Standards in Education inspection reports show the importance of leadership and management in FE colleges. Many college managers carry heavy teaching workloads.

Chronic under-funding of the FE sector has forced mergers, reorganisations and restructuring exercises. Management posts are often the first to go but this merely increases the burden on those managers who survive. It is no wonder that the number of managers suffering stress-related illnesses is increasing so rapidly.

Of course the bureaucratic burden on colleges and their staff should be reduced and the Association for College Management is campaigning hard to achieve this. However, the real issue remains the under-funding of the sector by the Government. This results in under-resourced colleges employing poorly paid and over-worked managers, teachers and support staff.

The solution is not to criticise other colleagues but to unite together to campaign for additional resources for the sector.

Peter Pendle

Chief executive and general secretary

Association for College Management

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