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FE needs a bigger cake

It was with some dismay I read the article headlined "Efficiency bonus plea" (TES, March 15).

The difficulty for all further education colleges is the under-funding for the sector as a whole. The sector should attempt to obtain a larger cake rather than squabbling over the crumbs of an ever decreasing provision.

Colleges which inherited a higher average level of funding (ALF) have in some cases been asked to achieve real efficiency gains of some 20 per cent over a four-year period, whereas those which inherited a low ALF may be receiving real increases.

If we look to the higher education sector, we can notes that a table published recently in The Times Higher Education Supplement showed a vast range of disparities of the teaching funding per student in higher education institutions.

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, to its credit, is not pushing for equalisation and the subsequent instability this would cause to institutions, but has united universities in a very effective campaign to highlight the reduced funding for higher education as a whole. This must be the focus of action for FE colleges, rather than setting one college against another.

KEVIN O'HARA Director of finance The Sheffield College Sheffield

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