6th July 2012 at 01:00

Top pay is cut, but it's still enough to rankle

Poor Geoff Russell. It seems that not even the outgoing chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) is immune from the continued belt-tightening in the sector. His pay and benefits package for 2011-12 is down #163;20,000 on what he took home the previous year. This includes a #163;6,000 drop in his pay packet.

The loss is exacerbated because this time around there is no #163;15,000 bonus to be had. And it comes on top of a whopping #163;52,000 cut in his basic pay 12 months previously.

But FErret can't feel too sympathetic. As the SFA's annual report cheerily puts it: "The highest paid director is Geoffrey Russell. His base salary is #163;151,000 ... and this is 3.5 times ... greater than #163;43,135 ... which is the median salary of agency employees at the end of 2011-12." Thanks for rubbing it in, chaps.

Mr Russell was quick to pay tribute to the SFA's staff, particularly for their "professionalism, enthusiasm and good nature".

Here's a tip from FErret, free of charge: perhaps reminding your employees how much less they are earning than you is not the best way to boost team morale.

I'm working on my art and may be some time

Even if, as Michael Gove is so fond of reminding us, educational standards really are slipping, a project created by one Welsh FE student really takes the biscuit.

Literally, in fact. For her end-of-year project, Shannon Curtis, an art student at the Crosskeys campus of Coleg Gwent, took a tin of biscuits and a tin of salmon and sat in a shed. While this could conceivably pass for a decent house party in rural Wales, the task had a serious point. Shannon had decided to recreate Captain Scott's Antarctic hut, where the explorer wrote his diary entries and letters to his wife.

She even sent a photo of her work to Captain Scott's grandson, Falcon, who told her it was "absolutely fantastic". She probably even got to take the salmon and biscuits home for her tea afterwards.

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