22nd July 2011 at 01:00

Newcastle: dirty word?

With its seemingly constant stream of successes and controversies, it's difficult to keep the Newcastle College Group out of the news at the moment.

But the references will start to dry up very quickly indeed if members of the group's senior management get their way.

Last week staff received an email ordering them to "remove any reference to Newcastle College Group from any materials", and instead use its less easily identifiable new moniker, NCG.

UCU regional official Iain Owens blasted the "cynical exercise in rebranding", insisting the group "should be proud to have Newcastle in its name" and not perpetrate this heinous snub to the Geordie nation by treating it like "some kind of dirty word".

But while the organisation's title may have lost three words, the English language has gained a new one, with UCU coming up with a neologism coined especially for the occasion: "deGeordification".

Rock and a hard place

Never mind bricklaying; forget about becoming a beautician. FE colleges are a training ground for an altogether different profession: good old- fashioned rock `n' roll hellraising.

Or at least that's the view of Judge Barbara Forrester. While sentencing former Kendal College students James Stewardson and Alistair Donaldson for drugs offences, she was told that the men started taking narcotics while they were studying music courses there.

"People think that it won't happen to them and that they won't turn out like the rock stars and musicians whose lives we often see being ruined by drugs," she told the court.

FErret reckons the picturesque Cumbrian town is more likely to inspire its students to embark on a wander to Windermere than the Highway to Hell.

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