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Created: 25 August 2016 | Last Updated: 25 August 2016 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

Audit Scotland Report Highlights Further Education Challenges

Thursday 25 August 2016

The EIS has highlighted the many challenges that continue to face Scotland’s Further Education sector.

The EIS comments come in response to Audit Scotland’s annual review of the College Sector, which itself highlights challenges in relation to Scotland’s Further Education colleges.

The EIS- FELA national Executive will discuss the implications of the report at its meeting tomorrow (Friday) and the continuing challenges of the National Bargaining process to deliver the agreed harmonised salary scales for lecturers across Scotland.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "Today’s Audit Scotland Report presents a very mixed view of the recent college mergers process, which has been a very stressful time for students and staff alike.

"While the report claims that the college sector has become more stable overall, it identifies the lack of baseline data available to judge the success of the mergers. The report also highlights the lack of financial planning in colleges and for national bargaining.

"The EIS has repeatedly warned that the mergers process has sometimes been misused to provide cover for unnecessary cuts to staffing, courses and student places and this is reflected in today’s report which identifies significant cuts in each of these areas.”

Mr Flanagan continued, "Of particular concern to the EIS is the cut in the number of students older than 25 years old. This provision is for many the gateway to accessing the job market and continued educational opportunities through Lifelong Learning. This will impact more significantly on women re-entering education.”

Mr Flanagan added, "After years of particularly harsh cuts, Scotland’s college students, lecturers and prospective learners deserve a much fairer deal; colleges and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) must do better.

"For lecturing staff, binding commitments on the delivery of fair pay and harmonised salary scales in all colleges must be delivered in full and on schedule and all colleges must commit to the deployment of sufficient numbers of professional lecturing staff to ensure high-quality provision in colleges across Scotland.

"For students, that means a greater choice of courses, more student places, enhanced student support and improved access to a larger number of qualified lecturers.

"The fact that almost 90% of students were satisfied with their college experience is a testimony to the professionalism of lecturers who are working hard to ensure students’ learning is not impacted by these challenges”