Why must we subsidize Hackney?

17th January 1997 at 00:00
Chrissie Farley's defence of Hackney College's Further Education Funding Council funding still being 50 per cent higher than for my college after three years of "convergence" is disappointing.

Her case (FE Focus, January 3) is that the higher funding of Hackney should continue at the expense of colleges with funding below the median. Such a denial of equity is regrettable.

When colleges in areas of similar social challenge as Hackney do not seek protection through such arguments, is it legitimate to ask how the excess resource is being spent?

The purpose of the FEFC funding methodology is not to rectify the social problems of the nation. Within the mechanism there are chances for funding learning programmes and support for students with a wide range of starting points.

To extend the use of resources to purposes that are the responsibility of other services is unwise. When extra services provided by one college are financed by subsidies from low-funded colleges, one has a recipe for divisiveness.

We all want more resources, but to expect it now is unrealistic. No government likely to take our arguments seriously while colleges with high resource levels argue for such inequitable funding to continue.

ANDREW MIDDLETON Principal Stamford College Lincolnshire

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