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Consult us first;Letter

As a second-year A-level student studying at a sixth-form college within the further education sector I took great interest in the story "Cut dropping out or lose New Deal cash" (TES, December 12).

I greatly disagree with the Further Education Funding Council's stand on drop-out and retention rates.

Do they understand that it is through their bureaucracy that college corporations have to spend so much valuable time managing personnel and their estates?

How are colleges supposed to manage retention rates when they have to wrestle with other mammoth tasks created by the FEFC?

By cutting cash available through the New Deal programme, the FEFC is only harming students' prospects in areas where deprivation can be a problem.

I believe, as an A-level student, the drop-out rate is less to do with management and more to do with personal reasons. Students who have left my college usually did so because full-time employment became available.

If the FEFC does not already do so, could its officials consult students before making principals and corporations scapegoats? They may find their time well spent.

DAVID BARTELS (Student representative to The College Corporation for City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College) 3 Kingsway West

Westlands

Newcastle-under-Lyme

Staffordshire

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