20th April 2012 at 01:00

What's in a name? Well, two years' work, actually

Welcome, East Kent College! It is the latest FE institution to pull off a Prince-style reinvention, shucking off the name Thanet College and giving a boost to stationery suppliers and sign-makers everywhere.

But it was the decision-making process that particularly caught FErret's eye, outstripping even the Skills Funding Agency's struggles to come up with a name for student loans in FE, as reported a fortnight ago (FErret, 6 April 2012).

The decision was taken after a two-year consultation with staff, students and the local community. Two years! We have launched wars with less deliberation. It only took two years to build the entire National Health Service. The Empire State Building was constructed in 18 months. But to decide whether to rename Thanet College as East Kent College? Yeah, that's a two-year job, mate. At least.

Maybe this is one reason why: they were choosing between 200 names. There must have been an army of Don Drapers brainstorming away. And yet the result is a little prosaic. FErret likes to think that somewhere on the list they had a suggestion to rival the all-time best-named educational institution (now, alas, defunct): Flaming Rainbow University in Oklahoma, US.

'Credible' and 'reasonable'? Incredible

Fresh from making a mess of the FE Choices data, the Skills Funding Agency last week had to withdraw the college accounts for last year, after one college complained of errors.

FErret is surprised it was only one. His colleagues found multiple mistakes just among the principals' salaries, in one case combining three senior managers' pay and presenting it as the principal's own wedge.

Interestingly, the agency suggests that it applies "basic credibility and reasonableness checks". In which case, the principal of Loughborough College will be pleased that it is, officially, "credible" and "reasonable" for him to earn #163;242,000 a year for running the small but perfectly formed Leicestershire institution. Take that to the governors, Jim Mutton, and demand your 95 per cent pay rise.

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