Poaching attacked by funding chiefs

2nd December 1994 at 00:00
Ministers and funding chiefs have warned colleges and universities to halt the hostile competition they say is hitting efforts to expand the further education sector.

They are concerned at poaching and other practices they say some institutions use to boost student numbers - and the accompanying cash - without creating new opportunities.

Many colleges have reported a sharp drop in numbers because of what Sir William Stubbs, chairman of the Further Education Funding Council, calls "predatory trading".

Speaking at the Association for Colleges' annual conference in Glasgow last week, Sir William condemned "corporate actions which are legal but unacceptable".

He warned colleges against practices which include abuse of franchising - where students are shared between organisations - to double cash from funding agencies.

Tim Boswell, education junior minister, has also condemned practices which damage wider recruitment. He warned of serious consequences when addressing a meeting of sixth-form college principals. "Those who practise ruthless and over-aggressive competition often fall victims to it themselves," he said.

Some colleges have lost up to 20 per cent of students soon after enrolment, or even in mid-course, because of universities' predatory trading, according to Dick Evans, principal of Stockport College. "Malpractice is not restricted to the FE sector. Colleges are tearing themselves apart for the same students, " he said.

Mr Evans estimates some colleges are making up to Pounds 500,000 by poaching students.

At Blackpool and the Fylde College, Lancashire, deputy principal David Robinson said: "A number of students on certain courses had accepted offers in September and then decided to go to university."

At the AFC conference Sir William stressed, however, that his criticisms were pre-emptive warnings to "mythical institutions".

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