FE in the frame
Of course the two sectors are very different. Just as the key measure for schools is exam results, college performance will be judged as much on financial health as on anything else. This first round of FE performance indicators includes just about everything - except those on financial performance. Anyone looking for a rounded picture will have to trawl the funding council's website with some diligence to find the missing information which was issued during the holiday period.
This is surprising because the overall picture is of a sector emerging from the shadows, even in terms of colleges' financial performance. Certainly, it will not be good news that - 10 years on from incorporation - 15 colleges are still showing a deficit. On the other hand, there are some spectacularly improved balance sheets at colleges like Moray, Inverness, Clydebank and Perth which have had the most troubled financial history.
The funding council aims to bring financial security to all colleges by 2006. If this is not achieved, the Auditor-General and MSPs will breathe hard down the necks of college principals demanding to know what the public has got for the millions poured into the sector to help secure its foundations.