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Lecturers intimidated

Your new series "uncovering the hidden talents of Britain's college managers, " Alter Ego, (TES, February 3) is badly timed. Eddie McIntyre, of Birmingham College of Food, declared that "running a college was not a popularity contest or the students suffer".

At East Warwickshire College, Rugby, in the same week, more than 30 full-time lecturing and support staff were made compulsorily redundant or forced to early retirement by a management presumably echoing the same sentiment.

Before we celebrate this macho model of management too much, we should challenge its essential philosophy and intimidatory style. When teachers lose their jobs or are threatened into toeing an arbitrary management line, and are demoralised by the withdrawal of democratic co-operative practice, then both students and staff suffer.

As one student said: "When the lecturers go, where do we go?"

How can college managers suggest that concern for students features other than as a token in their unit-costed corporation policy, which has promoted a highly salaried management while further cutting costs by decimating full-time, professional staff and contracting teaching out to part-time staff on poorly paid hourly rates?

SIMON HANKEY

College lecturer

East Warwickshire College

Rugby

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