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A World of opportunity - A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland


A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland

FE in Scotland

Learning, training and achieving:

  • over 250,000 further education students in Scotland
  • 41% of all full-time entrants to higher education courses are in further education institutions

Further Education in Scotland

FE plays a key role in the education, skills and inclusion priorities of the Scottish Executive. The main priorities have been to:

  • Match learning opportunities to current demand and future needs
  • Expand college places
  • Attract more students from under-represented groups (including through student support arrangements)
  • Modernise college estate and facilities
  • Improve financial health of colleges
  • Invest in ICT
  • Boost teaching quality
  • Under the Programme for Government a commitment was given to create 40000 extra places in Scottish FE colleges over the first 3 years of the Parliament. This has been surpassed early by some considerable margin, with an additional 60,000 plus enrolments filled mainly by students from under-represented groups.

The widening access and inclusion agendas are reflected in FE enrolments for 1999-2000:

  • 434,435 enrolments across Scotland's then 47 (now 46) further education colleges
  • Of these, 72,007 studied higher education, accounting for around 28% of all Scottish HE students
  • Just over 50% of enrolments were female and just over 50% were from the 25 years and over age group
  • Mode of study is predominantly part-time over full-time further education, whilst the difference between part and full-time higher education is smaller.
  • Colleges cater for a wide range of students from differing backgrounds, and with differing needs. This is reflected in an increasingly flexible enrolment and access policy, which includes a large expansion in home or work-based online learning opportunities and online outreach learning centres located within the heart of local communities, away from the main college hub. The growth of HE in FE colleges has also allowed students to progress to university at a pace which best suits their individual circumstances or allows them to access advanced study up to - but not beyond - a level which best reflects their training needs.
  • For information on prospectuses and courses best suited to the needs of prospective students, contact the Scottish University for Industry's learndirect scotland helpline ( www.learndirectscotland.com ) or get in touch with your local college.

Funding for Scotland's colleges:

  • Funding allocations to colleges are made by the Scottish Further Education Funding Council, the non-departmental public body that ensures Scotland's colleges implement the priorities of Scottish Ministers
  • Funding will have risen by 50% (in cash terms) over 1998 baselines by the end of the current Parliament.
  • Current total spend by the Scottish Executive is 428 million.
  • Targeted support has included:
  • 101 million (over 5 years) targeted at improving estate and facilities.
  • 102 million to boost access
  • 7.5 million to boost childcare
  • 36.5 million to boost ICT

Adult and Community Education/Training and Lifelong Learning

  • The Executive provides funding for local authorities, colleges and voluntary sector organisations to support a wide range of informal learning opportunities for adults and young people
  • The Executive launched a new initiative in 2001 to provide more assistance for the 800,000 adults in Scotland with low literacy and numeracy; improving these skills is crucial to promoting social justice, health, economic development, lifelong learning and promoting community development and active citizenship
  • 18.5 million is being invested over 3 years in community learning partnerships. The new funding will allow us to double capacity nationally from providing literacy and numeracy support for 15,000 people each year to helping over 30,000 each year by 2004 (and at least 80,000 over 3 years).




Total over 3 years

Current capacity





New Learners





Total helped