On a roll in the golden hello

15th August 2003 at 01:00
WE WELCOME your article "Golden hellos come too late" (TES, August 8) in highlighting two important initiatives, but the piece does contain an inaccuracy regarding the role of the Further Education National Training Organisation (Fento).

Fento has never been responsible for publicising golden hellos and has certainly not been asked by the Department for Educ`ation and Skills to review publicity methods. The department itself, in conjunction with the Learning and Skills Council, has undertaken certain publicity activities.

Fento does provide a key role in providing support and guidance to individuals and colleges through our helpline service.

A significant number of calls have been about golden hellos, primarily about the scope of the scheme and the eligibility criteria.

We have also been proactive in raising awareness among college managers and lecturers. We have a designated area on the Fento website and have highlighted the benefits of the golden hello and repayment of teacher loans schemes in mail-outs to colleges.

Our organisation believes that there needs to be a more rigorous evidence-based judgment of exactly which shortage subjects should form part of these schemes to address fully the recruitment difficulties in the sector.

This should be complemented by further targeted publicity and a drive to make the application process as straightforward as possible.

These two initiatives are welcome incentives. Clearly, more work has to be done to ensure take-up is maximised.

Tony Prideaux Project co-ordinator Further Education National Training Organisation 4th floor 32 Farringdon Street London EC4A 4HJ

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