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Funding plea

Until September I was the principal of a sixth-form college and currently I am the head of an upper school. I was therefore most interested by your front-page article on October 17 ("Small sixth forms under threat") indicating that 15 local authorities were preparing to trial the Further Education Funding Council funding methodology.

While supporting the principle of equality of funding, I do not believe the FEFC formula is appropriate. It is over-complicated and bureaucratic and its application is such that colleges struggle to confirm FEFC income.

Second, in terms of equality, most colleges have several income streams. Any equality of funding moves should take this into account. In order to do this we need to move away from an FEFC model and move towards some form of simple full-time equivalent based on working hours and total income.

Finally, having worked in both sectors, I believe that both have a role to play in the future. Any common funding formula should aim to increase the level of funding, not drive all institutions to the lowest common denominator.

A SORTWELL East View Woodford Kettering, Northamptonshire

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