16th October 2009 at 01:00
Cracking the code amp; Honourable mention

Cracking the code

Amid the din over FE jobs, pay, public funding, capital projects and casualisation, Birmingham Metropolitan College still managed to provoke an outcry by introducing a dress code for staff.

Out go the jeans, T-shirts with slogans, tattoos and just about any other expression of human individualism; in come the suits, sensible shoes and smart skirts.

Still, it could be worse. As our foreign desk picked up last week, teachers in Tajikistan even have the length of their beards dictated by government. Men under 50 must be clean shaven while men over 50 are allowed beards as long as the whiskers do not exceed 3cm long.

Luckily, the state remains liberal on footwear. Any shoe that fully covers the foot is OK, according to government decree. Even galoshes, popular in this wet, mountainous region, are fine.

Let us hope that similar sense prevails in Birmingham, which has its fair share of inclement weather. But as wellies are available in a range of fashionable designs nowadays, it may consider inserting a clause in its code outlawing the more ostentatious varieties.

Honourable mention

The movie industry honours its greats in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and music legends are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. FE rewards its giants with honorary membership to the Institute for Learning (IfL).

The newest members to join this select group are Bill Rammell, the former lifelong learning minister, and Sue Dutton, the former deputy chief executive of the Association of Colleges.

Wiping away what may have been a tear, Mr Rammell said he was honoured to be honoured with honorary membership. Ms Dutton thanked the IfL's council for the tremendous honour. Sue Crowley, chair of the IfL council, said she was honoured to honour them both as members of this small honorary group.

Congratulations to both Bill and Sue. You can both, should you wish, now avail yourselves of some honorary continuing professional development.

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