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Fund with quality

Neil Reed ("Teaching is only half the story", August 14) rightly draws attention to the need for managers in further education to have effective financial management, but the point Professor Frank Coffield makes ("Quick lesson: learning first, business second", July 24) is still valid. The vast majority of the funding FE receives is linked to recruitment, retention and success rates.

It makes economic sense, therefore, to put teaching and learning at the top of the agenda because success in this "core business" will automatically improve the income. Departments rated "outstanding" by Ofsted are always oversubscribed and highly successful in terms of the various data indicators.

I have worked as a consultant with scores of colleges, and those that are thriving - without exception - have senior managers with a passion for teaching and learning. When I work with less successful colleges on these qualities, senior managers are noticeable by their absence. That is the point Professor Coffield is making - not that financial issues are not important.

Robert Powell

RCP Training and Consultancy.

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