Learning council must have teeth

3rd March 2000 at 00:00
I READ with great interest your article "'Ladies argue over Bill" in (FE Focus, February 18) which reported Tory peer Baroness Blatch's concerns over the new Learning and Skills Council's powers of intervention in colleges.

The National Union of Students is certain that the council must have the power to intervene in colleges where governance and management is weak.

Baroness Blatch might like to recall what actually happened in colleges that went wrong where secretive corporate cabals stifled any criticism by staff, student or community governors. If Baroness Blatch's colleagues in government had created less space for ruthless college prinipals to intimidate governors (who were themselves not always representative of the college, its customers or its community), then these problems would not have arisen.

I know that at Melton Mowbray College, where the Further Education Funding Council have imposed two governors, that the student-governor feels far more comfortable.

Previously, he and other governors had struggled to be informed or heard. I hope that the Bill gets passed with the council's powers of intervention intact.

Mark Atkinson

Vice president, further education

National Union of Students

Nelson Mandela House

461 Holloway Road, London

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