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Not good enough

BRIBING colleges to increase their A-level pass rates must have seemed like a wizard wheeze when some bright spark at the Further Education Funding Council thought it up. But mention the scheme at Hills Road sixth-form college in Cambridge at your peril, as the Standards Fund cash is highly unlikely to come its way.

It's not that the college isn't trying. It's just that pass rates have to increase by at least 2 per cent to qualify for the scheme - and the fiure at Hills Road is already 98 per cent.

Despite protests, FEFC mandarins are determined to stick to the actual letter, rather than the spirit, of the regulations.

Principal Colin Greenhalgh - who says he is not "an angry old man" - is not happy that improvement is being rewarded at the expense of sustained performance. No doubt the Learning and Skills Council will take up the matter with appropriate zeal when it replaces the FEFC in April.

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