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Data issue blocks threshold payments

LECTURERS who leave general further education for the relative riches of a job in a sixth-form college may be in for a shock in their new workplace.

Many take the chance to apply for pound;2,000 threshhold payments, which are only available in sixth-form colleges but can - at least in theory - be based on their previous performance in general FE.

But some who apply for their money could be in for a shock. In some cases, lecturers who apply find that their previous FE employers cannot or will not produce data on students' prior qualifications, which are needed to prove they have achieved the added-value that qualifies them for the extra cash.

Sixth-form college management sources say the reasons given by FE colleges for failing to provide the value-added data that would support the threshold applications of their former lecturers range from insufficient record-keeping to concern about student confidentiality.

Some FE colleges claim their management information software does not enable them to dig out the records. Others argue that to do so would constitute a breach of the Data Protection Act.

Dave Blake, principal of Havering Sixth Form College, in Essex, has a number of teachers who have not applied for the threshold payment, despite the fact that they would be expected to qualify.

He said: "I would suggest that in at least one of these cases it is because they have not been able to get the data they need from their previous place of employment."

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