Surfing the internet for inspiration is not easy, especially when you are trying to find sites that support colleges and their managers. I first went to www.ask.co.uk and asked the question: what are standards? I was given a number of options but none that led me to any firm conclusions, except in the areas of health and some lineage from the British Standards Institute and the International Organisation for Standards. Having tried a number of other sites, I was left with the impression that very little existed, so I would like to propose a number of potential new sites that could be developed.
The first would be www.feprofessional.co.uk. It would list all the benefits that staff would get from a professional body. It would advocate all the positive things about lecturers and managers in FE, and point out what we deliver and how much FE contributes.
The next would be www.FEwherenext.co.uk and would indicate all the things that will be happening to colleges over the next few years as we enter the Learning and Skills world. It would touch on issues, such as freedom to manage and leadership in colleges, and explain what is meant by these terms.
However, after all this debate, we need to come back to earth and consider www.wherehaveweseen thisbefore.co.uk and begin to recognise that sectors may come and go, sectors may be redefined, but colleges remain. A principal once said to me that colleges are a bit like drains: nobody knows they are there until they get blocked, and then all hell breaks loose.
Maybe the best website of all for college managers would be www.keepthedrainsclear.co.uk.
Geoff Terry is chief executive of the Further Education National Training Organisation