FE conditions and pay abysmal

12th May 2006 at 01:00
I have followed with interest the struggle by FE lecturers and HE academics and other staff to gain a just, well-deserved, professional rate of pay for a demanding array of teaching, administration, research and related activities.

It is no wonder that FE colleges and universities find it hard to recruit well qualified, experienced and motivated staff when pay is abysmal, conditions of service questionable, workload (often disguised as flexible response to institutional demands) is intolerable, and career structures non-existent or untenable.

As a senior teacher with 30 years' experience in the local authority sector and various allowances (special needs; upper pay spine 1, 2 and 3; and teaching and learning responsibility points), I investigated various posts in the teacher education, FE and research sectors, only to be horrified to find that, even as a senior lecturer, I would face a substantial pay reduction, worse conditions of service, a workload defined by gaps in skills and knowledge, and unacceptable working environments.

The Government, the LSC and the HEFC need to understand that to recruit, retain and motivate post-19 provision staff, they must be rewarded and recognised for the outstanding work they do. Tokenism and cynicism in the salaries debate will not resolve this issue. I am only surprised that FE and HE colleagues have been so patient and accepting for so long.

I trust that lecturers' union Natfhe and the Association of University Teachers win the pay rate and recognition they deserve.

Len Parkyn

Head of Transition Planning and Liaison

Downs View Link College Brighton and Hove City

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