Flow of plumbing cash is blocked

4th April 2003 at 01:00
Charles Clarke should know that an inflexible funding system is to blame for the lack of plumbers.

Instead of recognising the need for plumbers and funding a distribution of plumbing courses throughout the country, we have a funding system that makes classes of less than 14 students uneconomical.

If fewer than a dozen students enrol, instead of nurturing the valuable few, colleges are forced to close the class. The equipment is sold off, the space vacated is given to art or media studies, and the part time lecturer is laid off, or the full-timer who covered plumbing is given early retirement.

When the local paper runs a story about plumbers earning pound;40,000 a year for 35 hours per week with generous holidays, and enquiries for plumbing courses start coming in, what are colleges expected to do? All they can do is advertise for a part - time lecturer in plumbing at just pound;15 per contact hour (less than pound;10 per hour worked by the time administration, preparation, marking and counselling time is added) or advertise for a full-timer who can do plumbing and other subjects at only pound;17 000 per year, rising to pound;26,000 after 10 years - and that is for a 44-week year with 40 to 50 hours per week in term time.

Steve Bolter Wickham House Gestingthorpe Essex

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now