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Portrait of a College
From: The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke, QC, MP
HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A 0AA
21st June, 1999
Dear Dr Robinson,
Thank you very much for your recent letters asking me for my help in your
writing of the history of Bilborough College. I am afraid that my recollection of these
events is getting rather hazy, eight years later, and I do not have the time to look up
any papers or do any research on the subject.
I can remember that I had discussions with officials about whether or not
to include sixth form colleges in the arrangements. My recollection is that I personally
always wanted to include sixth form colleges, and I cannot recall whether there was any
hesitation about it. Some officials were very fearful about the likely reaction of the
local authorities and it may have been that either the officials or some colleagues in the
Government wanted me to tone down the proposal and leave more inside local authority
control. I must say that I cannot recall that I ever saw any point in that and there was a
great deal to be said for dealing with what were then described as further education
colleges and sixth form colleges on a similar footing, as they were essentially addressing
the education and training needs of the same age group. I was Secretary of State and
obviously it was me who took the decision to include sixth form colleges in the change.
I cannot imagine why the President of the Board of Trade made a statement,
if your recollection is correct. It may be that you first saw it reported when he made a
reference to it. The policy of setting up the Further Education Funding Council, based on
the White Paper to which you refer, was the responsibility of me and my Department of
Education and Science.
I hope this is helpful.
18th September, 1999