26th March 2010 at 00:00
Named and shamed amp; Foiled again.

Named and shamed

Farewell, Learning and Skills Council. By the time our next edition comes out, you will have passed into history, like Ozymandias, king of kings.

Except in this case, there would only be two vast and trunkless legs of stone remaining on the lone and level sands because the money had run out to complete the statue.

The LSC is of course replaced in part by the Skills Funding Agency, whose media handlers are very keen that FE Focus should not abbreviate its name to SFA.

Why? There are several competing theories. An irrational hatred of Welsh band Super Furry Animals? Concern for people with lisps? Fear of an unfavourable comparison with the ever-successful Scottish Football Association?

However, if "the Agency" - as it hopes to be called - is worried that people might translate the acronym as "Sweet FA" (to use the polite version), that horse has already bolted. FErret coined the nickname back in May last year.


Hertford Regional College suffered an unforeseen side effect with its new buildings, constructed at a cost of pound;90 million and packed with the latest technology.

Staff found that suddenly their mobile phones stopped working inside, with calls dropping unexpectedly as they walked through the doors, just as if they had gone into a tunnel. Handy for preventing student chatter, but irritating for staff on the move.

The college ended up investing in a fancy new phone system after the reason for the dropped calls turned out to be that its buildings were packed with something else apart from technology: aluminium foil for insulation.

FErret had thought that wrapping yourself in foil was the preserve of eccentrics who believed they were under surveillance, but apparently it's common to keep heating bills down. Then again, perhaps the college is merely trying to avoid monitoring by that mysterious new organisation known only as "the Agency"?

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