Decision deferred on college merger


A decision on the proposed merger of three Glasgow colleges will not be made by Ministers until September 1, to enable full and proper consideration of the complex proposal.

The Nautical, Metropolitan and Central Colleges submitted their merger proposal to Ministers on Tuesday June 8 and requested that Ministers approve their merger on August 1, 2010.

Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning Keith Brown said:

"The colleges have asked Ministers to endorse the merger proposal which we received last month. We are a listening government and have heard many views since first consulting on this issue in 2009. Any merger is complex by definition and this proposal is not unique in that regard. It is therefore only right and fair that we take our time and consider the proposal in full before making a decision.

"This will be a significant decision for the college sector, taken during the holiday period when many key people and organisations are not readily available for input or advice.

"Already, I have met with a number of key voices including MSPs, the Scottish Funding Council and the trade unions, and I will hear from others with an interest. I want to have the time to consider these views as part of my own consideration of the proposal. And alongside that lies the statutory responsibility of the Scottish Funding Council - not Ministers - to secure a coherent system of college education in Scotland, which means we need to take very close account of its advice.

"I want to be clear that we have not made up our mind on whether to approve the merger or not. The deferral means only one thing - as Ministers we owe it to the city of Glasgow, college staff, students, businesses, trade unions and all other stakeholders to fully consider the proposal.

"Of course, I am aware that we need a timely decision to allow staff, students and parents to plan accordingly. However, as I have said before on this very issue, we will, as a responsible government, take the necessary time to reach the correct decision, before making clear our views at the start of September."