Date: Wed 21 November 2012
Further education debate must concentrate on cuts, not confusion says college union
UNISON, the union representing college support staff, issued a plea for the Scottish Parliament debate on Further Education (FE) to concentrate on “the real issue of cuts to college places and college services” rather than a political bunfight over who said what to whom.
The union pointed out that the teaching grant to colleges - which includes the funding for the vast bulk of the staff is declining by 35%. These are having an impact on students and colleges across the board
Cuts are impacting on courses, on availability and the quality of education provided. Courses being cut across Scotland include vocational courses like aeronautical and aircraft engineering, computer animation, digital gaming green-keeping, and horticulture.
The focus on young and full time students is being maintained at the expense of other potential students. This is impacting particularly on women, mature returners to learning and carers.
There is a particular decline in support services such as career guidance and counselling which are important in ensuring that students complete and make the most of courses.
Speaking ahead of the debate Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON’s Further Education Committee said:
“For our members this is about far more than who said what to whom. We hope Parliament will concentrate not on what has been said in Holyrood - but in what is happening in our colleges. Across Scotland, key services to students are being cut back or removed - that’s idf they can manage to get a course in the first place.”
Notes to editors
Previous UNISON Publications on current aspects of Further Education
College regionalisation response
College Regionalisation - proposals for putting learners at the centre
Examples of problems with mergers
Merger of Edinburgh Colleges - UNISON submission
Merger of Scottish Agricultural College and land-based FE colleges - UNISON submission
FE governance response
Scottish FE College Governance Review evidence
Post 16 education response
Putting Learners at the Centre - Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 education Dec 2011
For further information
Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON’s Further Education Committee, on 0722 329 223
Emma Phillips, UNISON Regional Organiser, on 07538101221