COLLEGES are being encouraged to pension off staff and replace them with new blood, the Further Education Funding Council said this week. They are also to be rewarded for improving their achievement rates.
The Government's expanded Standards Fund, up from pound;35 million last year to pound;80m, will contribute to six areas of college activity - improving teaching and learning; training principals and senior management; good governance; disseminating good practice; an achievement fund and college improvment.
It includes new arrangements to colleges pay 50 per cent of the annual costs of two new teaching posts for two years and to contribute pound;5,000 to the lump-sum enhancement of two staff given early retirement.
Colleges which show a 2 per cent improvement in achievement rates without significant changes in their intake or retention rates will shre the new pound;20m achievement fund.
On last year's figures, around a third of colleges would qualify. Colleges which were in the bottom quartile for achievement rates in 199899 will be eligible for double the award.
Another innovation is the introduction of a "health check", which would pay for a consultant to lead each college governning body through a rigourous self-assessment exercise.
FEFC chief inspector Jim Donaldson said he expected the extra standards money would mean a small college having access to more than pound;60,000 of targetted funding and a larger one getting more than pound;150,000.
Commenting on the changes, he said: "In recent years there have been fewer opportunities available to colleges to enable teachers and senior managers and bring in new expertise. It's largely designed to help colleges in that regard."