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Ego-massage is expensive

I write to express my concern at the ever increasing number of expensive conferences purporting to support senior managers in the delivery of further education.

Since incorporation, the number of such conferences has increased dramatically and the costs are now approaching truly amazing levels. A recent invitation received for a two-day non-residential conference was in excess of Pounds 800 per delegate, equivalent to 54 hours of lecturing - or staffing a 90-minute evening class for a year.

I am further concerned that the same speakers, often principals, regularly appear as the speakers anxious to spread good practice from their own colleges. Unfortunately, many of them are seldom in their own colleges. What faith can I therefore have in their highly expensive and often irrelevant opinions regarding the proper management of an FE college and the stewardship of public money ?

Surely it is time to call a halt to these egotistical exercises and perhaps look more towards the Further Education Funding Council model in which regional briefings and conferences are well structured and, in general, good value for money.

J D HEALY Principal Bexley College Tower Road Belvedere Kent.

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