26 Oct 2012
New figures have shown that waiting list numbers for Scotland’s colleges are even higher than previously thought – with more than 20,000 applications still to be processed.
Demand for college places is higher than ever with many institutions being forced to turn away potential students, as the SNP’s swingeing cuts to the further education budget start to bite.
The slashing of college funding has resulted in 70,000 fewer places, some courses being lost and thousands of members of staff losing their jobs.
The Scottish Conservatives also revealed a few weeks ago how Scotland’s most disadvantaged students will see their bursaries slashed by 34 per cent, meaning they will receive almost £1,000 less a year.
Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith MSP said:
“It is becoming clearer by the day that the Scottish Government’s decision to make significant cuts to the college budget is taking its toll.
“Mike Russell bizarrely claims that students have never had so many opportunities and he has even challenged the fact that waiting lists exist.
“However, these figures tell a starkly different story, at a time when the Scottish Government has promised every 16 to 19-year-old a place in education or training.
“No-one understands how the Scottish Government can promise all these young people a place in education or training and yet slash funding for the very colleges that will help provide them.
“Mike Russell accuses his opponents of not living in the real world. But I’m afraid he is the one who needs to wake up to the crisis facing our college sector.”
Notes to editors
The figures were revealed in a survey by Scotland’s Colleges, which show that 21,280 young people are waiting for a college place:
See today’s Herald for a report on the figures: (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/college-waiting-lists-worse-than-feared.19241614)
A report by Audit Scotland stated: “As part of the Scottish Spending Review 2011, in September 2011, the Scottish Government proposed to be [sic] reduced its revenue grant funding for the sector from £544.7 million in 2011/12 to £470.7 million in 2014/15 which equates to a real-terms fall of 24.1 per cent.” (p14)
Staff cuts: Evidence from Scotland’s Colleges to Education Committee (2/10/12), pg. 13