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On a mission to raise standards

Further education colleges have a shared mission with university technical colleges (UTCs) to raise standards of technical education, which is why eight of the 13 recently launched UTCs are college-backed. UTCs are an important experiment in secondary education but it will take time to see the results. Five are currently open, with fewer than 1,000 students enrolled, compared with 250 FE colleges with more than 80,000 students aged 16-18 on vocational level 3 courses. Lord Baker is right to say there are ways in which FE colleges can improve ("Critics claim technical colleges are going soft", 5 April) but Punch and Judy comparisons belong in a fairground, not your paper.

Ben Verinder, Communications director, Association of Colleges.

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