Claims of massive wait for college places ‘false’

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CLAIMS that thousands of people were left waiting for college places have again been dismissed as false by the Scottish Government.

Work by the government and Scottish Funding Council shows only a fraction of the suggested 21,000 were still interested in securing a place, education secretary Michael Russell said.

Colleges Scotland put forward the initial figure in a survey of 36 establishments last year.

The new study, which examined all applications to seven colleges, suggests only 4 per cent of the figure were waiting, the government said.

Mr Russell added: “This report confirms claims about college waiting lists were wrong. The claim thousands of students were being turned away from Scottish colleges was untrue.”

The combined waiting lists submitted by the seven colleges contained 12,866 applications, which were whittled down to 6,655 applicants. Five hundred responded to say they were still interested in a place, and 36 indicated they were in employment, training or education, or no longer wanted a place at college.

But Labour MSP Hugh Henry said: “Even with this superficial exercise, it still shows there are thousands of young Scots waiting to get a college place. For the SNP to argue there is nothing of concern, from a survey of more than 6,600 people when only 536 replied, is beyond belief.”