12th November 2010 at 00:00

Ye FE jousters jilted

The collapse of the Building Colleges for the Future programme left many people disappointed, but nowhere more so than in Durham.

There, the sudden withdrawal of capital funding for East Durham College meant an end to plans for a mythical Dark Ages theme park, featuring sieges, feasts and battles, in what FErret would have been obliged to endorse as the best possible outcome of a college refurbishment programme.

Of course, the Learning and Skills Council lacked the vision to fund the theme park directly: the college planned to sell off its rural Houghall campus to fund new buildings, while developers created their sword-and- sorcery fantasy on the old site.

Now the college intends to refurbish the campus instead and extend the agricultural courses on offer there. Zzzzz. Perhaps a compromise is in order, with jousting as an extra-curricular option and peacock and grilled beaver tails on the canteen menu.

Money equals happy

Guess who the happiest people in college are? If you guessed "the ones with all the money and the power", you would be right!

That, more or less, was the conclusion of RCU Research and Consultancy, which put together years of staff survey responses.

They found that senior managers feel the most valued, while lecturers feel like the bottom of the pile.

Luckily, there is one group among lecturers who were much more positive in their responses: those in their first year.

FErret thinks he may have cracked the problem. What do first-year lecturers and managers have in common? They have spent less time around teenagers. Can it be a coincidence that they are happier?

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