The Scottish Funding Council (@ScotFundCouncil) has today (Tuesday 20 October) published the findings of Phase 1 of its review of colleges and universities. The Phase 1 Report recognises the vital role of Scotland’s colleges and universities in transforming lives, supplying a pipeline of talent, supporting economic and social renewal, and forging global networks but it also points to the need for change and for a mature conversation about their future so that their continued success and sustainability can be secured.

The Phase 1 report reflects the views of more than 100 organisations and many individuals. It comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought into sharp focus the financial challenges already facing Scotland’s colleges and universities. It identifies the need to address the immediate challenges facing the sector in the next two academic years but also shows there is a real appetite for a stimulating debate about what Scotland needs from tertiary education in the longer term.

Key findings from Phase 1 include the following:

  • We have an opportunity in Scotland to have a much more integrated tertiary education and skills system – where people can start in college and more easily transition to university, where people get credit for prior learning and don’t have to repeat levels of study, where people from disadvantaged backgrounds get access to the education, skills and apprenticeships they need, where there are good connections between the senior phase in school and the transition to college and university, where there are entry and exit points that make lifelong learning a reality, where we train people for the skills they will need for the future. That means we need to review the way we fund education and skills, and the way we track good outcomes for students, whatever stage they’re at in their journey.
  • We are in a middle of a digital revolution for learners – this is going to challenge the way students learn and will shape the student experience. We have a moment of inflection here – we have the opportunity to develop more efficient and high quality curriculums online, and support tutors and lecturing staff to harness this digital revolution for enhanced learning and teaching for students.
  • And we need to listen to students and make sure their interests are at the heart of everything we do.
  • We must build long-term relationships between colleges and universities and employers and industry. We do a lot of this already, but we got some excellent suggestions through this review of ways of making that even better for the future.
  • We have choices about how to make our research as useful as possible and how to drive innovation and make improvements that are going to benefit economic growth, commercialise new medicines, develop new green transport, for example. That’s an exciting challenge because it can make a difference to the world around us and the way we live our lives. Universities and colleges have a key role in making this happen.

Commenting on the publication of the Phase 1 Report, SFC Chief Executive Karen Watt said:

“We have a fantastic and diverse set of colleges and universities in Scotland. They are real national assets. They provide us with skilled people from all walks of life, research breakthroughs that will solve some of the big health, social and economic challenges of our time, and they are important anchors in our communities. But as the world around us changes, at a time of economic upheaval, and when resources are tight, this review asks how we can secure their continued success and sustainability for learners and for Scotland.

“This first phase review report distils views from over 100 submissions and round-table discussions from all parts of public life. It aims to generate a debate about options for change. There are no easy answers, only difficult choices. But this review shows there is a real commitment to consider those choices based on what represents best value and the best impact for Scotland’s future success. We look forward to exploring the emerging themes in more detail through Phase 2 of our review.”

Shona Struthers 100x100Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, said:

“This is an important review for the college sector, and we welcomed the opportunity to work with the SFC to contribute our views and highlight both the opportunities and challenges that colleges are facing now and in the future, particularly given the pandemic.

“The report sets out the basis for creating a more collaborative and inclusive approach to tertiary education, something that the college sector has been seeking for some time, that puts the learner at the heart of the system and ensures that everyone regardless of their age or background has access to education and training at every stage of life without having to repeat learning or duplicate effort at each step. 

“The report also notes the critical role that colleges will play in Scotland’s recovery, supporting Scotland’s future, getting our citizens back to work, ensuring a focus on both social and economic recovery, and contributing to the success of the changed economy of the Scotland of the future.    Colleges make a fundamental contribution to Scotland’s labour market, helping to meet employers’ needs and ensuring that students have the right skills and training to succeed in the workplace.

“The college sector’s financial difficulties are well documented and this report acknowledges the sustainability challenges that colleges have and the impact of COVID-19 on college budgets including the need to shift swiftly to remote online teaching and tackle digital poverty.  This review provides an opportunity to provide the college sector with greater certainty of funding, more flexibility and streamlined funding in future.

“We look forward to working with the SFC and key stakeholders to take forward phase 2 of the review and developing the key themes further.” 

The SFC review of colleges and universities was commissioned by Scottish Ministers and is being carried out across three phases. The final phase is due to be completed in early summer 2021.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Trust is very powerful, as the article suggests. The question is, how to develop trust in a work...

AELP Webinar Team added a new event 12 hours

Flexi-jobs, ATAS and Apprenticeships

Overview Following recent consultations by the Department for Education, a new flexi-jobs apprenticeship scheme will be piloted from July 2021....

  • Thursday, 03 June 2021 10:00 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page