Unjustified venom over FE principals' salaries

17th May 1996 at 01:00
Roderick MacFarquhar (Letters, May 3) is mistaken in much of what he says about FE principals. Just for starters, salaries must be disclosed in each college's annual accounts and are not "secret".

His comments on the increase in principals' salaries since incorporation conveniently overlook the massive increase in their managerial and legal responsibilities. These were formerly carried by senior education officers, many of them very highly paid compared to principals, but are now carried out at college level. Many more staff are now employed in colleges than before incorporation. The expectations we have of principals as institutional leaders are therefore higher and they are perhaps the least secure senior post-holders in the education profession.

Colleges, like universities, are now expected to achieve "efficiency gains" year on year. Principals can and do protest at this but are obliged to respond and try to square the circle - a difficult and sometimes painful task.

I find it interesting that Mr MacFarquhar reserves his venom for FE sector principals. Our salaries are relatively modest for the responsibilities we carry and at the least, can still be described in five figures. Whingeing and sniping at a hard-working group of people doesn't help.

MIKE WEBSTER Principal, Perth College

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