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People make learning possible

The fascinating and obvious link between your facing articles on college business culture (Stephen Jones's "Is it the business of colleges to adopt a corporate culture?", March 12) and Michael Sheehan's "fastest ever turnaround" of Riverside College ("Turnaround head warns mergers can cause decline") is the college as a learning organisation.

Valuing learners because they are people with unlimited potential to achieve and, by the same token, recognising our own professional capacity for reflection, challenge and change is our key to success in the further education sector.

Mr Jones pleads for fewer headlines in business mode such as "Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education had a controlling interest in ." or, potentially (of the very same FE and HE provider), "On January 1, 2010 Yorkshire Coast College merges with . ". The wish is granted in Mr Sheehan's modest reference to boosting morale and his sensitive concern for a staff turnover of just 8 per cent.

In the learning organisation, performance management holds no threats, few fears and the attraction of development. Outstanding leadership may be sought-after in both business and in education, but wherever the "priceless person" label is applied, learning flourishes.

Ray Sutton, Education consultant.

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