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LIFELONG PARTNERS: SCOTLAND'S SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF A LIFELONG LEARNING SOCIETY: A Strategy for Partnership

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SECTION 11
Delivery in Rural Areas

11.1 Although the network of Scotland's colleges is extensive - 90% of the Scottish population live within 30 minutes of a college and 40% live within two miles of their local college 31 - we acknowledge that for some schools and colleges partnership will be challenging. In this section we outline measures mentioned elsewhere in this strategy and the guide specifically to address the delivery of school/college partnership in rural areas.

11.2 School/college partnership in rural areas through the use of learning centres has the potential to provide a solid core of activity that may help support sustainable learning communities in such areas. [Strategy/5.16]

11.3 It is likely that in autumn 2005 the new corporate plan for learndirect scotland will acknowledge the role that learndirect scotland and learndirect scotland branded learning centres can play in the engagement between schools and colleges. This should allow learning centres to provide support for S3 pupils and above. Learning centres' own distinct ethos - which are neither schools nor colleges (though some are physically located within schools and colleges) - will be maintained as this is crucial to their success. [Strategy/5.17]

11.4 The activity of pupils undertaking college activity will be funded by SFEFC in the same way as other activity including fee waiver and usual funding supplements for pupils in rural or deprived areas. The funding methodology will also take account of those pupils requiring extended learning support. [Strategy/6.6]

11.5 Transport arrangements can be challenging, especially for pupils in geographically inaccessible areas and for pupils who cannot access public transport because of physical or mobility impairments. The innovation and pragmatism of existing local arrangements will be developed further by education authorities and schools. Even with this, transport arrangements have the potential to frustrate partnership. We will grasp the opportunity which the two years of piloting the skills for work courses presents to establish clearly the evidence of the pattern and resource implications of transport arrangements (and other direct costs borne by the local authority and school) to support the growth in the full range of school/college partnership activities, including growth as a result in the delivery of skills for work courses. This will help inform consideration for future Spending Reviews. Funding currently available to local authorities and schools through Determined to Succeed can be used to support vocational partnerships, including associated transport arrangements. [Strategy/6.10]

11.6 In the meantime, as a temporary measure pending the outcome of that review, we have asked GTCS to confirm by summer 2005 that college staff registered with the GTCS (or with conditional registration) who have or are working towards a teaching qualification in further education ( TQ( FE)) within an appropriate timeframe, will be able to teach pupils in S3 and above in schools. College staff without such registration will be able to teach pupils in schools if a teacher is present in the class. [Strategy/10.6]

11.7 Colleges have well developed work-based curriculum programmes and have established a comprehensive network in the private, public and voluntary sectors. This could be utilised to help deliver school/college partnership activity. [Guide/3.21]

11.8 Local authorities, schools and colleges may also wish to consider joint-funding of facilities in schools or in colleges. Colleges may also wish to consider the possibility of setting up outreach centres in schools. [Guide/3.22]

11.9 In some areas consortia of schools could work together with a range of colleges, including colleges at a distance through online courses and outreach delivery and accreditation arrangements. [Guide 3.23]

11.10 One more lateral approach to partnership working of which we are aware involves Banff & Buchan College, which had noticed a steady increase in demand for college activity from local schools. The reason for the demand was the lack of teaching staff in schools to teach technology courses. The local solution to this problem was not to provide college staff to teach the school pupils, but instead to educate students who subsequently went to university to become teachers of this subject. This has happened, and a teacher is now in post. [Guide 3.24]

11.11 Further modes of delivery may need to be considered, principally in respect of the use of new technologies to provide distance-learning, including open and flexible learning and videoconferencing. Another possibility is a travelling college workshop for more remote schools. Dumfries and Galloway College, for example, employs mobile facilities to provide demonstrations in areas such as catering. [Guide/3.28]

11.12 As part of the Scottish Schools Digital Network project, the Scottish Executive has provided a national broadband interconnect linking all the 32 education authorities and national bodies such as the SQA and Learning and Teaching Scotland. More than 70% of Scottish secondary schools have a broadband connection of 2Mbps or better. This means that there is potential for accessing FE college online learning environments from within secondary schools. However, achieving this in practice will depend on the policies of the colleges and the technical configuration of both college and local authority networks. [Guide/3.29]

11.13 We intend that school/college partnerships should link with wider partnerships to ensure that pupils' needs are met in an effective, integrated way. Work-based vocational learning is an integral part of our national strategy for enterprise in education, Determined to Succeed. The Scottish Executive Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department is reviewing how public and private training providers can extend their partnerships to include the business community in order to ensure quality experiences for pupils with appropriate pupil welfare and support.
In Working and Learning Together to Build Stronger Communities the Scottish Executive set out how local Community Learning and Development Partnerships (which generally include local schools and colleges) should take a strategic approach to the provision of formal and informal community-based learning opportunities. [Strategy/2.16/17]