Fund to help college reform


A £15 million fund to help drive reform in the college sector has been announced.

The college transformation fund will support regional mergers of colleges, in line with the Scottish Government's post-16 reform agenda. Further discussions with colleges will determined the exact scope of the support, but it will include help with one off costs associated with mergers such as voluntary redundancy schemes.

Education Secretary Michael Russell said:

"Over the last few weeks I have had numerous constructive discussions with college chairs and principals about our plans to reform post-16 education - including the move to a regional model of delivery.

"I have been impressed by their willingness to engage and also by their commitment to reform and remove unnecessary duplication of provision. I also recognise their real and genuine concerns about managing budget reductions whilst undergoing a significant change programme.

"That is why I am pleased to be able to commit £15 million into a fund that will support our colleges as they move towards delivering education in regional groups. This fund will incentivise reform by assisting colleges who wish to merge and will also help with the practicalities, for example by supporting voluntary redundancy schemes.

"New figures today show that 88.9 per cent young people are leaving school and going into positive destinations such as work, training or education. This is a two per cent increase on last year and an overall increase of nearly five per cent since 2007 - and, in the current economic climate, is a tremendous result. But we must maintain our efforts.

"This is why we announced a further £30 million last week to support youth employment and have committed to provide a place in training or education for every 16 to 24 year old through Opportunities for All. This extra fund underlines the pivotal role that colleges play in delivering for our young people and helping to drive forward reform and to the benefit of students, staff and the wider economy."

The Scottish Government has set up a Transformation Change Fund that will be available to colleges in 2012-13 to support change in the sector and help fund the cost of regional mergers.

The Education Secretary will write to college leaders this week and invite them to have further discussions about the detail of the fund.