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Praise for flexible staff planning

I AM pleased that you brought the Further Education Development Agency's report, "Hard-nosed decisions", to the attention of your readers (TES, October 2).

However, the article was inaccurate in some respects. Most importantly, the report does not say that jobs were lost without proper planning. Also readers in search of the so-called 14-point guide will be disappointed. Our introduction does highlight six common features of good practice, and we do provide a summary.

This good practice was drawn from examining the planning processes in a small number of contributing colleges, who definitely did not lack the good practices essential for effective human resource planning, as you suggest.

Our overriding conclusion was that colleges have shown a remarkable degree of flexibility in managing human resource issues under difficult conditions. We found that many managers are working hard to ensure secure employment for staff. We also concluded that the quality of provision in colleges - generally good - reflects the quality of both staff and managers.

Ursula Howard, Director of external relations and learning development Further Education Development Agency Tinworth Street, London SE11

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