Black arts: fraud and witchcraft

31st October 2003 at 00:00
We taxpayers are still licking our wounds after the scams which drained millions of pounds from the Treasury through the poorly-managed Individual Learning Accounts scheme. Now, another alleged fraud emerges, this time involving college franchising, where training is contracted out to private companies, at Sandwell College.

But spare a thought for the legions of auditors and police officers who have to follow up all this intrigue. "The Government is placing an increasingly high priority on fraud," one weary insider on the investigation into Sandwell tells me. "In fact, everything it looks at unfortunately turns out to be fraudulent."

In the meantime, FErret hears that Sandwell may not be the only college to be caught up in the scandal. Several have now been contacted by auditors at the Learning and Skills Council's national office in Coventry, who fear the companies whose offices were raided by police may have had links with more than one college.

The auditors at Coventry are keen to keep the identities of the suspect companies quiet but have been whispering their names over the phone to principals who may have had dealings with them.

By the way, if you thought the questionable use of public funds is restricted to these shores, you would be wrong. Think yourself lucky you're not a taxpayer in Norway, where the promotion of lifelong learning includes providing government subsidies for witches to teach magic tricks.

Lena Skarning, 33, who now describes herself as "Norway's only state-backed witch", gets pound;4,500 for teaching anyone who's interested a trick or two as one of the services provided by her organisation Forest Witch Magic Consulting. The money comes on the condition that her spells don't do anyone any harm.

A bit safer than ILAs, then.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now