Tories call for more college students from deprived areas

Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservatives' young people spokeswoman. Picture: Jane Barlow

Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservatives' young people spokeswoman. Picture: Jane Barlow

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MORE than half of Scotland’s colleges take a below average proportion of students from the country’s most deprived areas, according to Scottish Funding Council figures.

Colleges in Aberdeen, the Borders, Fife, the Highlands and West Lothian all take in fewer students from their poorest neighbourhoods than their population share.

The Scottish Conservatives say all colleges should take in at least 10 per cent of its students from the 10 per cent most deprived areas, but many are taking on less than 5 per cent .

Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “College is such a crucial way for young people to get the skills and qualifications they need to build a successful career for themselves.

“But right across Scotland, nothing like enough students from the poorest backgrounds - the ones who need our help the most - are gaining entry.

“This is yet another deeply worrying statistic which proves the SNP just isn’t doing enough to close the attainment gap or to increase opportunity among Scotland’s least privileged.

“This is one of the major education challenges of the 21st century, and barely a month goes by that proves the SNP is not up to the task.

“It’s bad enough it slashed 140,000 college places, but now it seems those courses remaining are not sufficient to help those who need them the most.”

The figures will be analysed by Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee today.

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