Letter: Growing demand for FE colleges

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The Independent Online
Sir: You cover only half the story "Finance crisis puts 50 colleges at closure risk" (30 April). The pressure on further education colleges to reduce costs is certainly very severe; in three years the Sheffield College has cut its unit costs by around 25 per cent in real terms.

But worse is the fact that the Government is refusing adequately to fund continued expansion in many colleges which have met their growth targets. Local demand for education and training is rising, the size of the school- leaver cohort is growing, and the economic imperative of improving educational provision for people in employment is accepted.

Yet the Sheffield College is poised to have to cut provision in some subject areas, to close sites, and to shed staff. This crisis is largely of the Government's making and emergency measures are now needed to avert it.

Seb Schmoller

Secretary, Natfhe:

the University and

College Lecturers' Union