a nostalgic comment in the TES about FE/HE … & the SFC latest report

In Aberdeenshire+ NesCOL was a combination of Aberdeen College with Banff & Buchan but in and amongst there were separate campuses eg Altens College in the south of the City. One benefit was the reduction of wasteful duplicate outreach centres in such as Inverurie (half way between), another was staff savings via Voluntary Severance.

Demerging in Lanarkshire seems a backward step but friction must be reduced, Glasgow is the result of resource shortage I suspect (as usual), and UHI is still not right.

Flicking through the total phase 1 report gives the impression that Strategic reorganisation of the above failing units is the focus, most of the constituent brochures are on the topic. It seems from the initial financial report that the Colleges are in trouble with increasing predicted deficits.

Contrast with the Universities who with a £75m donation, many fee paying students. Anton Muscatelli took a high ground view in the Times today saying various were not up for discussion. He did not mention Brexit and its effects on Research, the topic did not jump out from the SFC paperwork either. If it had not been references to Covid I think a reprint of the version 15 or so years ago would have sufficed. The title “Coherence & Sustainablity” aspires to little new and I gave up reading when the terrible trio fixing problems were laid out again.

I suppose it is easy from my armchair but my memory of FE was an exciting one of variety and social justice. After 14 years I think I gave up trying but at least there was change. When I taught at University it was stale. I have had more luck lately further down the age range but Primary education is a gem with enthusiastic kids. Of course there are some good teachers at secondary but the spark of various initiatives, welcome or otherwise, seems to have been extinguished and not just by Covid.

I am not optimistic and my grandson has now gone stateside and is thriving. I fear for my next grandkids but at least it will give me something to do.