College capers

20th June 1997 at 01:00
The first meeting between the Education Minister and college principals and board chairs was a jolly affair made jollier still when Ray Murray, the Thurso principal, brought greetings to Brian Wilson from "Jimmy Fry", presumably a Labour worthy from Caithness.

Not to be outdone Ray Bailey, principal at Cardonald, said "Big Tam from Pollok sends his regards" - clearly an even more mythical figure.

Dunkeld House Hotel is a pleasant place for the principals to relax away from revolting unions and balancing their sums. They were cheered, too, to hear Ed Weeple, head of FE at the Scottish Office, pay tribute to their sterling achievements over the past four years.

But Jim Thomson, who chairs Clackmannan College's board, was less enamoured of the previous government's strategy which he said had "led a number of colleges to the verge of bankruptcy and a number of principals to the verge of breakdown". Even college chairs had agreed, Thomson said, "that we must have a concern for our principals".

The colleges do not, however, feel they are uniquely badly done by. Jim Neil, principal of Dumfries and Galloway College, acknowledged: "All four home countries, while there may be some differences in the detail of their funding methodology, share one thing in common which is that they are rather long on methodology and rather short on funding."

And yes, you've guessed it, to get on in the world of FE you have to be called either Ray or Jim.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today