Minister promises to reform funding

30th May 1997 at 01:00
Baroness Blackstone, the Education and Employment Minister in the Lords, has pledged to press ahead with the reform of funding for further education after consulting employers and unions.

But in a video address to the annual conference of the lecturers' union NATFHE in Scarborough last week she asked lecturers to "give us a chance" and not make hasty demands.

"The clearest evidence of the lack of priority the previous Government gave to FE was the funding crisis it generated last year," she said.

"There may well be difficult decisions to take on funding priorities but we will be consistent in our funding and approach.

"In support of partnerships in FE, we want to say we shall consult those who represent employers and staff."

Lady Blackstone was due to appear at the NATFHE conference in Scarborough last weekend. But she withdrew amid suggestions that she was unwilling to get embroiled in the spat over the early retirement of general secretary John Akker.

Her first appearance on an FE platform since entering the new Government will be in front of college chief executives in Bristol next week.

Others addressing the meeting, which is the annual conference of the Association of Principals of Colleges, will include Jim Donaldson, chief inspector with the Further Education Funding Council, and Nicholas Tate, chief executive of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

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