Dear, oh dear Mr Tony Blair

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
Open letter to the Prime Minister

Congratulations on your re-election and an historic third-term success.

In view of your statement that you "needed to listen to people", can I ask you personally to answer the five following basic questions?

1. Why further education - and my college in particular - is facing a Pounds 1.1 million budget cut for the next academic year (2005-06)?

2. Why schools get 100 per cent capital support and colleges might get just 35 per cent?

3. Why school sixth forms get up to 14 per cent more funding for the same student on day one and, even if the student leaves, they keep all their funding, whereas after four weeks we lose our funding?

4. Why schools get full VAT relief, whereas this college - through its new-build plan - will be paying you pound;8m? How fair is that?

5. Why you expect this college to exclude up to 2,000 part-time adults from learning as non-essential because your Learning and Skills Council says it will not fund pound;848,000 of adult provision for 2005-06?

Do you seriously believe that the skills engine of the economy (further education) can deliver a globally competitive workforce with inadequate funding and a lack of trust in principals such as myself?

I am sure you are busy at the moment, but I await your reply with interest.

Rowland Foote

Principal and chief executive

Bournemouth and Poole college North Road


Poole, Dorset

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