City College Norwich has pledged to tighten up its protection of confidential student information after it admitted dumping files, including sensitive medical information, in a campus skip. The college reported the error to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which said it was the second time it had disposed of personal information in unsecured bin bags. The ICO concluded that the college had suitable policies in place on the handling of personal data, but ICO acting head of enforcement Sally-Anne Poole said: "From the moment personal information is collected to the time it is securely destroyed, organisations have a legal responsibility to abide by the principles of the Data Protection Act. There is also a reputational risk for organisations with lax data protection practices."
Hotel chain challenges `snobs' with apprenticeship plan
Budget hotel chain Travelodge has begun an apprenticeship programme, offering 500 places in hotel management training. Available to 18-year- olds after school or college, the apprenticeships are intended to capitalise on concerns about the growing costs of higher education. Travelodge chief executive Guy Parsons said he wanted to dismiss "outdated, snobbish views" about apprenticeships and establish them as a viable route to management roles. As it launched the apprenticeships, the company said it had surveyed teenage students and found that 71 per cent were questioning the value of university, but that 53 per cent believed they needed a degree to become a manager.
Union opposes IfL's `exorbitant' membership charge
Education union the ATL has passed a motion opposing "exorbitant" fees for compulsory membership of the Institute for Learning (IfL) for all college teaching staff. The motion, proposed by the executive of the union, calls for the IfL to avoid passing on the costs of administration, legal fees and IT infrastructure to staff and to distinguish its role in continuing professional development from the monitoring already carried out at college level. A round of talks involving unions, the IfL and college employers has begun to attempt to find a compromise after staff threatened to boycott the professional body - which by law they are expected to join - over the 120 per cent increase in fees since the Government withdrew public funding.
`Lowest fees' announced for business and law degrees
Swindon College has struck a deal with for-profit education firm BPP University College of Professional Studies to offer degrees in business and law for pound;3,000 a year. BPP said the pilot scheme was designed to offer "one of the lowest fees of any university in the UK", with a three-year course costing the same as many institutions' annual fee. The company was first given the right to award its own degrees in 2007, followed by the protected title of "University College" last year. The news comes as Blackburn College became the latest to announce its fees, charging pound;7,000 a year for its university-accredited courses.
Sports lecturer is first Brit to referee at Women's World Cup
A sports lecturer from Preston College is set to become the first Briton to referee at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany this summer. Natalie Walker (pictured), who has taught BTEC and foundation degree courses at the college for eight years, has previously officiated at the FA Women's Cup final and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, but she is the first referee to represent the UK at the biggest tournament of all. The 30-year-old was told about her selection last week and will fly out to prepare for the competition - which takes place between 26 June and 17 July - on 16 June.