Thursday 22 June 2017

Commenting on the Audit Scotland report on Scotland’s Colleges, published today (Thursday), EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said:

"The EIS welcomes the publication of this in-depth Audit Scotland report on Scotland’s Colleges. While the report is extremely detailed, the information it contains is set out clearly and offers valuable insight into the Scottish Further Education sector."

"The EIS very much welcomes the measured improvement in 'student attainment' identified in the report and the fact that 83% of students go onto a positive destination. This is a credit to the hard work of college staff and students alike."

Mr Flanagan continued, "However, the EIS is concerned with the continuing drop in student numbers which follows on from last year’s similar decline - particularly in the number of part-time students."

"We are concerned that funding across the sector for the year 2017-18 will only increase by 1% after some exceptional capital funding at Forth Valley College is excluded. Additionally, we note the increase of £5m in PPI interest payments across the sector – highlighting the excessive cost of these schemes."

Mr Flanagan added, "It is also interesting to note that, despite an 'exceptional charge' of £18m spent on voluntary severances in previous years, that there are now 9% more support staff and 6% more lecturing staff in our colleges."

On college finances and, specifically, the binding commitment on colleges regarding equal pay across the sector, Mr Flanagan said, "The EIS has noted Colleges Scotland's claim that the agreed return to national bargaining will cost £79m over three years."

"We have not seen any evidence to support this claim at the NJNC (National Joint Negotiating Committee) despite repeatedly asking colleges to supply it."

"The EIS believes that this quoted figure is an exaggeration on the part of colleges managers who have consistently made unsubstantiated claims about the costs of a return to national bargaining and the introduction of equal national pay scales for all lecturers."