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Response to Cricklade

IN THE event, the "revelations" about Cricklade College, Hampshire came as no great surprise.

We may not know the precise circumstances of the Cricklade case, but we would certainly recognise the general scenario.

The change in accountability - more exactly, the change in unaccountability - at incorporation in 1993 provided the perfect background for a range of phenomena:more closed meetings, hidden reports (even hidden agendas and minutes), perks for principals and senior management through the backdoor, disrupted lines of communication, chaos management, the well-selected muddying of waters, victimised staff, union persecution, students-as-customers or "units", plans, senior managers playing at being executives...

Add the abolition of a career structure for lecturers who teach and replace it with a management spine for those who don't and we have a spanking new apartheid for thenew millennium.

How many Cricklades? How many Haltons? How many Wirrals, Wilmortons, Stokes? Maybe your own cause celebre? Or maybe yours is yet to reach the outside world. But give it time - time enough for some dodgy participant to negotiate an all-expenses-paid period of garden leave.

Those who try to keep an element of honesty in the system are not surprised by these events. We confront them daily and it often seems like a war of attrition.

We read of campaigns against bullying, of legislation to protect whistle-blowers and we are "reassured" that union victimisation is a thing of the past.

The union rep at Cricklade, Andrew Murray, has my sympathy and I wish him all the best.

Sadly, he won't be the last person to lose his job for taking the honest path. Some of us have been that way before.

Paul Harland

86 Elemore Street

Pittington, Durham

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