The Scottish Funding Council have published the Widening Access 2019-20 report. This shows that the target on widening access to degree courses has been met two years early, in 2019, well ahead of the target date of 2021. The report also shows that overall in the tertiary education level there is already equality of access for those living in Scotland’s most deprived communities.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has today (Tuesday, 29 June 2021) published its final report on Coherence and Sustainability: A review of Tertiary Education and Research, which began in June 2020 at the request of Scottish Government Ministers. The Review was conducted in three phases and Colleges Scotland has worked closely with colleges and the SFC to put forward the views of the sector at every step in the process.

We are pleased to see that the Report calls for multi-year funding and longer-term planning - the sector has been campaigning for sustainable funding for some time to enable colleges to plan and invest more strategically for our students and staff. The recommendation for a strategic vision for tertiary education will also ensure that the ambitions of the sector are realised. Many of the recommendations in the Review, if enacted, would support economic recovery and allow colleges to realise their potential to deliver world-class education, be anchor institutions in communities, and work more effectively with local, regional and national businesses.

The recommendation to set up a Micro-Credential Framework and Delivery Plan for Scotland is welcome - this would build on the work that colleges already do in terms of training, upskilling, and reskilling to meet the needs of the labour market and technological changes, enabling people to future-proof their careers and learn in a way that suits them. We look forward to working with SFC and the Scottish Government to take forward the recommendations.

Keyfacts 2021 leaflet

This year’s edition of our Keyfacts has been published, containing the latest facts and figures on the college sector in Scotland.  The Keyfacts publication can be viewed in pdf format ( pdf Colleges Scotland Keyfacts 2021 (1.82 MB) ) or as web pages.  Key statistics include:

  • Colleges deliver around 70 million learning hours to 239,004 students
  • 95% of all learning hours lead to a recognised qualification
  • Colleges deliver around a quarter (24%) of all higher education in Scotland
  • College is the most popular destination for those from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds with 38% of school leavers from SIMD20 moving into further education
  • 7% of students are from minority ethnic groups
  • Colleges are the biggest delivery agent of Modern Apprenticeships, supporting 11,013 students
  • 81,795 students are studying as part of their occupation

Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association welcomes the agreement reached yesterday with EIS-FELA which formally brings to an end the recent dispute within the college sector.

The Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association and the EIS-FELA have ratified an agreement that will support and strengthen course delivery through a diverse curriculum, which best suits the needs of the learner. Read the joint circular here.

Read our comment pdf Formal Agreement Reached with EIS FELA Friday 18 June 2021 (132 KB)

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has given £4.4m to colleges to develop mental health and resilience packages and support students and staff struggling to cope with the mental health impacts of Covid-19.

This funding will help to develop the role of Mental Health Co-ordinators in colleges and include more student-led services, such as the creation of a colleges’ mental health nightline and more wellbeing support for college staff.

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland said:

“Since the start of the pandemic, colleges in Scotland have been working hard with Scottish Government to increase the funding for mental health support to benefit students and staff who have faced some really difficult circumstances. The funding is a substantial investment in mental health support which colleges can use locally to best suit the needs of their students and their workforce.”

Further details are available on the SFC website.