What does privatisation of Shetland College mean?

Created on: 11 Mar 2020 | Last modified: 05 Mar 2024

  • The new college would be a private limited company.
  • This company would not be subject to the same level of Scottish Government oversight as the vast majority of other colleges throughout Scotland.
  • It is not subject to reports being completed by Audit Scotland on their financial stability.
  • The Scottish Ministers cannot intervene directly if something goes wrong with the Board of Management.
  • The new college would be a regional strategic body of the University of the Highlands and Islands, the only higher education establishment which is registered as a private company in Scotland and which does not recognise trade unions.
  • College Board members may only be liable for £1 each if something goes wrong. There is no detail on what happens to Further Education in Shetland if the company is wound up.
  • The main source of funding for the new merged college in Shetland will come from public monies. With that level of public funding our college, students and staff deserve the security of knowing their education and jobs are protected and that tax-payers money is being effectively invested in the current and future educational needs of people in Shetland.
  • The private company has the ability to build up reserves of cash, unlike incorporated public colleges. Public money would be used to build up the assets and reserves of a private company. An incorporated college would return any unused/surplus public funds to the Scottish Government. Ultimately, public bodies are underwritten by the Government – not directors.

Education is a public good and should be a public service. It is not a commodity to be bought and sold.