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Students protest as they are kept off the board

STUDENTS have complained that colleges are failing to include them on governing bodies, despite new rules entitling them to a place at the top table.

Ten per cent of colleges have not appointed a student-governor, according to a survey by the National Union of Students.

The Further Education Funding Council told college governing boards last year that they must include a student member but the union's survey has identified 14 colleges that have not yet done so.

Mark Atkinson, the union's vice-president, said: "The NUS sees a strong link between the colleges failing in governance and those ones which lack student governors.

"The NUS wants the Department for Education and Employment to be more pro-active in tackling colleges who don't allow student governors. They have a legitimate role to play. Let them play it."

Fintan Donohue, vice-principal of Barnfield College in Luton, Bedfordshire, said the college wanted to ake sure it got the process right rather than simply creating a student-governor position as soon as possible.

Barnfield will have a student-governor from December.

Mr Donohue said: "Eighty per cent of student recruitment takes place over the SeptemberOctober period and it is only now appropriate to seek a representative that will include newly-recruited students.

"I understand the point they are making and I would stress that involving the students has always been important.

"I would go further and say that simply having a student on the governing body is not enough. Our existing governors have a lot of contact with students and that will continue."

The NUS will use a student-governors' convention which starts today to lobby David Melville, FEFC chief executive, about the issue, along with other key speakers who will include Stephen Grix, the Office for Standards in Education's 16-19 chief inspector.

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