Young ‘being turned away from Scottish colleges’
COLLEGE leaders have warned that young people are being turned away from a place in further education, after it emerged there are more than 21,000 applications on the waiting list.
Figures released by the umbrella group Scotland’s Colleges show there are 21,280 applications – more than double previous estimates – in the system.
The figure represents the number of applications rather than the number of people, as candidates can apply to study on more than one course.
However, Scotland’s Colleges said around half the applications were from 16- to 19-year olds, the group the Scottish Government has said is central to its reforms of the sector which is currently undergoing a radical overhaul.
John Henderson, chief executive of Scotland’s Colleges, said: “These figures show that demand for college places is high, that this demand is not always being met and that colleges are being forced to turn people away.
“While it is possible that some individuals will be on waiting lists for more than one course, that cannot account for the high numbers colleges are experiencing.
“Colleges are facing significant ongoing cuts to core teaching budgets, 24 per cent in real terms between 2011 and 2015.”
Education secretary Mike Russell said it was “absolutely wrong” to suggest 21,000 people were on waiting lists who had been denied a place in learning.
He said: “No previous government has ever matched our guarantee … that every 16- to 19-year-old in Scotland not in education, training or a job is guaranteed an offer of a place in education or training.”
Meanwhile, Ayr College, James Watt College and Kilmarnock College have launched a public consultation over their plans to merge.
Under the proposals, the three colleges will join to create a single new college to cover the whole of Ayrshire from August, 2013.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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