Sawbone surgery

5th May 2000 at 01:00
There's no doubt about it: the arrival of the Scottish Further Education Funding Council has made life more fun. Improbable as it might seem, new excitement has been injected into FE's notorious and inexplicable funding formula.

This is based on what is known as the student unit of measurement (SUM), when it is not known as the weighted student unit of measurement (WSUM). No explanation is presumably required, except to point out that t is the unit which is weighted, not the student.

We are grateful to David Wann, the funding council's deputy chief executive, for alerting us to the fact that he and his colleagues are now on the "cusp" in departing from one formula to another. This is not some technical successor to WSUM but, as will be plain to all, "a tooth-like meeting of two branches of a curve, with sudden change of direction".

Brace yourselves.

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