Applause for persistence

30th March 2001 at 01:00
FURTHER Education Funding Council chief David Melville (FE Focus Letters, March 16) continues to defend the closure of Bilston College by attacking Paul Goddard-Patel, the former finance directior, and with the argument favoured by all self-righteous FE decision makers: "Iin the best interests of the students and protection of the public purseI" It is now a widely held belief that neither of these two criteria were sincerely applied in the closure decision. Indeed, I am one of many in the West Midlands who applaud Paul Goddard-Patel's persistence in exposing the truth.

By his efforts, we may eventually confirm that the closure was variously political, has resulted in blatant "empire building" at huge expense to the taxpayer, and has certainly been to the detriment of many tudents and staff.

So desperate are they for a successful outcome to a bad decision that the newly merged college has been given vast funding.

As one senior manager in the new Wolverhampton college said recently, in public, "We've got more money than we could ever dream ofI" A typical indication of this "throw money at the problem"philosophy is a local newspaper exposure of consultants who are paid pound;180 per hour for advice to the college on, for example, a merged prospectus.

Time will show, I am quite certain, that the FEFC solution will cost many times more than any of the debt Bilston acquired in its (FEFC-encouraged) enterprising activities.

Barry Hodgson (ex-Bilston student)


109 Coalway Road



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