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Bilston inaccuracies

I HAVE read with interest the articles and correspondence regarding Bilston over the past two years. I have not contributed to the discussion. However, the significant inaccuracies in David Melville's letter (FE Focus, March 16) cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

Professor Melville refers to a 276 per cent forecast growth in the college's income over a three-year period, from pound;24.6m to pound;68m. A provisional forecast was submitted to the council because the council required the college to submit a forecast as a condition of borrowing consent and in a context where the college and the council were in dispute over the 1997-98 funding allocation.

Paul Goddard-Patel did not send this provisional forecast to the council because he was in India. When he returned to England, I asked him to look at the initial forecst in more detail.

This resulted in a report to the college's finance committee on February 27 1998 that showed an increase from pound;24.6m to pound;31.1m over three years, an increase of 26 per cent. That estimate was discussed with the council on March 4 1998 and acknowledged in a letter from the council on March 9.

I am puzzled by the reference in David Melville's letter to the initial provisional estimate, which was submitted under duress, rather than the subsequent figures approved by the governors. There is no attempt to answer the pertinent questions asked in Mr Goddard-Patel's open letter. Your readers will doubtless draw their own conclusions on both these matters.

John Warden

(Former chair of Bilston Community College Finance Committee)

6 Meadow View

Sedgley

West Midlands

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