Show of courage over Bilston

14th July 2000 at 01:00
YOU are to be congratulated for printing the first articles ("A giant success that ended in closure" and "Goodbye: we won't miss you", TES, July 7) in the media showing that the Further Education Funding Council's version of what occurred at Bilston Community College is not necessarily the whole picture.

As further information emerges, it might even be discovered that the funding council played a distinctive part in the destruction of the college over the years.

Bilston was a radical and effective provider of open-access, equal opportunity, community education policies - the inclusive policies the Government says it wants. It was the forces of conservatism and elitism that destroyed it.

The only disappointment I found wth the article was that there was no mention made of the role played, or perhaps not played, by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. He did not acknowledge nor adjudicate an appeal by the college governors against the behaviour of the FEFC.

Thus, he allowed the council to be judge and jury in its own case and permitted arrogance and high-handedness to succeed.

Your courage in publishing those articles will, perhaps, open the way for a fair and independent inquiry into the Bilston affair and an analysis of what creating effective "inclusivity" actually entails in further education.

David J Kyte

The Friends of Bilston

Community College

Flat 27, 1 Park Hill

Moseley, Birmingham

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