2001: a college odyssey

29th December 2000 at 00:00
The story so far ... The inspectorate decrees there are to be no more inspections because it is too busy changing to a new system. In a concession to sixth forms it is agreed to delay cash claw-backs. The Further Education Development Agency revamps itself as the LSD agency. Adrian Perry goes back to the future.

January

The Government discovers that 2001 is the real millennium and penalises colleges which implemented the new Curriculum 2000 last year. The Further Education Funding Council chief executive, David Melville, withdraws his telephone call conceding defeat to new Learning and Skills Council chief executive John Harwood, and demands a recount.

February In a concession to sixth forms, it is agreed not to audit their numbers: LSCs will fund however many students the headteachers say are there. The last FEFC circular is issued, setting academic targets for 199697. The Drug Squad raids the Learning and Skills Development Agency, tipped off by endless talk of "visions".

March Former Wirral governors quiz UN secretary general Kofi Annan about human rights violations. The LSC decides to delay rising from the ashes of the training and enterprise council national council and the FEFC for three months, as it is too busy working out what skills a phoenix needs.

Standards Fund arrangements for year announced: it will be divided into 1,237 small pots, each to be competitively bid for with no college getting more than pound;60 in any pot.

April In a further concession to sixth forms, pass rates will be assumed to be 100 per cent. Training and enterprise council chief executive receives pound;1 million redundancy and is revealed to be a distant relative of Camilla Parker Bowles.

Colleges announce they won't be teaching any more classes until September, as they are too busy with the transition to new management information and funding arrangements.

June Railtrack continues to impose speed limits on trains. The Department for Education and Employment suggests a sixth-form college might be the anser.

Civil war breaks out between the Office for Standards in Education and the adult learning inspectorate: NATO recruits peace-keeping observers from Kosovo.

Florida's lost 23,000 Democrat votes turn out to be Bilston College learning agreements. The Guardian's campaign against the monarchy succeeds as Queen abdicates. "We thought of getting rid of Blackstone but decided to start with the easy stuff," says the editor.

July The Government announces that all colleges with positive bank balances are to pay a special "efficiency tax" tapered at a rate up to 110 per cent, to fund the transition programme for the LSC, and to provide places for three more sixth-formers to study in schools.

August In a further concession to sixth forms, they are allowed to be late with data returns if they say that their dog ate the student records.

A new six-year National Lottery contract is given to a selective sixth-form college. "This will raise standards," says Downing Street spokesman.

September The LSC is so short of money it decides to start reclaiming some cash from colleges which have failed to recruit to target by September 1.

Police investigating the disappearance of David Sherlock, the chief inspector of the adult learning inspectorate, dig up FE quality inspector Steven Grix's patio.

October Ebola Fever breaks out in Chesterfield. The DFEE decides to tackle the crisis with a sixth-form college.

Hallowe'en is marked by hysterical reports of sightings of former chief inspector of schools Chris Woodhead.

November 20023 LSC budget is announced. The entire allocation is to be divided between the Standards Fund and the local LSC discretionary fund.

December The Government's enthusiasm for separating vocational and academic training is embodied in a proposal to break up the LSC to create separate bodies to fund work-based training and further education. The FEFC's funding system will be carried forward for one more year.

Adrian Perry is principal of Lambeth College


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