Scottish Further Education
Briefing No 55
This briefing paper provides an overview of the
role of the Scottish Further Education Funding Council. This Council
seeks to develop further education, by funding learning opportunities
that enable students to achieve personal, social and economic
goals, and by providing support for the further education sector.
Further Education in Scotland
There are 46 Further Education colleges in Scotland
who receive their funding via the Scottish Further Education Funding
Council (SFEFC). In 2002 there were over 480,000 student enrolments,
47% are female,
59% are aged 25 or over,
67% of students had no previous qualifications,
88% are on vocational courses,
82% are on part time courses, and
80% who complete a course gain employment
or progress to more advanced education.
Further education colleges employ over 12,000 full
time equivalent staff, 54% of who are involved in teaching. Over
90% of the population of Scotland live within 30 minutes of a
further education college.
Scottish Further Education Funding Council
The Council is responsible for funding further education
in Scotland. It is empowered by the Further and Higher Education
(Scotland) Act 1992 to do all that is necessary or expedient to
secure adequate and efficient provision of further education in
Scotland, to the extent that it can within its powers delegated
by the Scottish Ministers. Its functions include:
funding further education colleges to enable
them to deliver Ministerial policies,
monitoring the quality of provision and the
financial health of the sector,
offering guidance to colleges on good practice
and stimulating innovation, and
advising the Scottish Ministers on the needs
of further education.
The Scottish Further Education Funding Council operates
within an overarching policy framework that is set by ministers.
Widening access and participation continue to be
high on the ministerial agenda - including those from under-represented
or disadvantaged groups.
The 13 members of the Council are responsible for
setting the overall strategy and making decisions about how to
allocate the funds available for the 46 colleges funded by SFEFC.
A Chief Executive and staff of around 100, shared with its sister
body - the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, support
As well as seeking to respond to Scottish Executive
policies the SFEFC also seeks to provide advice on the needs and
potential development of the Further Education sector.
Its policies are developed in partnership with colleges,
and other key partners, recognising that its goals will only be
achieved through those at the front line delivering a quality
further education service.
SFEFC also seeks to secure adequate, efficient and
publicly accountable further education while acknowledging colleges'
responsibility to manage their affairs to best serve their communities.
FE College Strategic and Operational Planing
Each year colleges are required to produce rolling
strategic and one year operational plans. These plans are used
to inform the SFEFC of the national trends in provision and the
more local issues being addressed by the institutions.
The plans form a clear basis for discussion with
individual and groups of colleges as the SFEFC considers issues
associated with adequacy and efficiency of provision.
The SFEFC also has a Financial Appraisal and Monitoring
Service (FAMS) which is responsible for providing a comprehensive
range of services to SFEFC with regard to monitoring the financial
health of FE colleges throughout Scotland. The monitoring function
includes the following:
Analysis of financial forecasts, mid year
financial information and annual financial statements;
Assessments of institutions financial control
and audit arrangements;
Participating in UK wide value for money studies
and other such projects aimed at developing and improving
financial management in the sector;
Developing and disseminating good practice
guidance in relation to governance and management.
Scotland's Further Education Colleges operate in
a wide variety of different environments, some of which have very
specific local economic and social needs.
At a national level, colleges are also encouraged
to be responsive to the Scottish Parliament's key strategic priorities
for the further education sector in Scotland. The SFEFC has a
central role to play in supporting colleges to plan and act strategically,
to face the challenge
of meeting changing local, regional and national
priorities. The SFEFC assists colleges to identify strategic aims,
to plan effectively for their delivery and to monitor their achievements.
To support this process the SFEFC has set aside
funds of at least £3million per year, through the Strategic Development
Fund, to encourage long-term strategic developments that address
identified needs across the sector.
Action for Branches
This briefing is primarily for information purposes
on the role and responsibilities of the SFEFC. Branches should:
Scottish Further Education Funding Council www.sfefc.ac.uk
Scottish Further Education Unit www.sfeu.ac.uk
Dave Watson - firstname.lastname@example.org
@ The P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Tel 0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572