Our colleague was named, why were her detractors not?

8th June 2007 at 01:00

Peter Pendle, General Secretary and Chief Executive, Association of College Management. Ruth Watson and Margaret Casey. Chair and Vice Chair, Harlow College branch of the ACM

We write to express our indignation at your feature "Live the vision or lose your job" (FE Focus, May 18).

We object to much of this very partisan attack on the strategy of Harlow College, its corporation and its principal, Colin Hindmarch, but our specific complaint relates to the personal attack on one colleague, Sallyann Abdelmoula, inserted into the middle of the article.

As this paragraph merely reports vague and unspecified "disquiet", because Joseph Lee does not name the complainants while choosing to name our colleague, FE Focus must be held accountable for the content.

While the principal is allowed to defend the appointment, Ms Abdelmoula is still left named as the object of "disquiet", which seems, since there is no specific complaint about her performance, to be attached to her background as a lecturer on various vocational programmes (only one of which is referred to by the reporter) and the fact that she gained her Middlesex University degree in the workplace, part-time, as a mature learner.

Unnamed individuals were allowed publicly to criticise a named colleague.

She had no opportunity to respond at the point where it would have been helpful, and her qualifications and experience were inaccurately published without her permission.

FE Focus's more perceptive reports frequently celebrate lifelong learning, the parity of status of vocational programmes, and the achievements of mature learners who complete degrees while holding down a job and raising a family.

There are plenty of very able and respected principals who have followed a similar route to that sneered at by the unnamed critics reported so eagerly by Mr Lee.

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