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News Release

EIS questions proposed merger of Glasgow colleges

The Educational Institute of Scotland has questioned the educational rationale behind a proposed merger of three Glasgow further education colleges – Nautical, Metropolitan and Central colleges. 

The EIS is asking why the significant investment being proposed in a merged college will lead to fewer student places than are currently provided by the three individual colleges.  The EIS is also questioning why another Glasgow institution, Stow College – which is currently facing a very uncertain future – has not been included in the merger proposals.

Commenting today on the merger proposals, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "The EIS has a number of major concerns regarding the proposed merger, and has written to both the Cabinet Secretary for Education and to the Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council to raise these concerns. 

"No sound educational rationale has been outlined which justifies the vast expenditure that would be involved in merging these three colleges.  Indeed, the EIS understands that the proposed merger would actually result in fewer student places being available than is the case at the moment.”

Mr Smith added, "The EIS is also seeking clarification as to why Stow College has not been included in the merger proposals.  This college is facing very serious difficulties, and its future existence is hanging in the balance.  Yet, it has not been included in the merger proposals.  If the aim of the proposed merger is to deliver a brighter future for further education and for Glasgow’s students, then Stow College must be included.”
 
Moving on to other area of concern, Mr Smith added, "In addition to reservations over the educational rationale for the proposed merger, the EIS also has a number of concerns about the employment implications for college staff.  There has been no guarantee on the avoidance of any compulsory redundancies as a result of the proposed merger.
 
"The EIS would fight any move to force compulsory redundancies on staff, and remains concerned that the main motivation for this merger is driven by financial rather than educational considerations.”
 
Mr Smith added, "There has also been very little progress in relation to harmonising the pay and conditions of service of staff at the colleges, and this would have to be concluded before any merger could possibly take place.  The prospect of a merged college with three or four different rates of pay and different conditions of service is simply unworkable, and would be resisted by the EIS.”

Mr Smith concluded, "It is clear that this proposed merger has not been thought through sufficiently, and that a great deal of clarification is needed before these proposals can proceed.  The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Mike Russell, should withhold approval of the proposed merger until all the outstanding issues are addressed. 

"We all want to see a brighter future for Further Education in Glasgow, but it would be unwise to push ahead with the current merger proposals before all the issues are addressed and all the alternatives are considered fully.”

(ENDS)