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Stow College withdraws from Glasgow ‘Super Campus’

Stow College has announced it will withdraw from the New Campus Glasgow project, which would have seen Glasgow’s four city centre colleges join forces to create a "Super Campus".

The move to co-locate Stow College, Central College, Nautical College and Glasgow Metropolitan College has been under negotiation for seven years. However, Stow College’s management now say the parameters of the project have changed considerably, and it is no longer in the interests of its staff and students.

Jim Mitchell, chairman of Stow College, said: "After much careful consideration, the Board of Stow College has decided that it is in the best interests of our future students, local community and staff to withdraw from the New Campus Glasgow project.

"The Scottish Funding Council has now made it clear that they favour an early four-way merger as opposed to the co-location we originally agreed to. This would involve the creation of a single college catering for vast numbers of learners – around 50,000. To put this into perspective, Glasgow University only has around 20,000 students and Aberdeen College, which is currently the largest college in Scotland, caters from around 34,000 learners per year.

"There has never been a college of this size before in Scotland, and we have very serious reservations about its ability to meet the needs of college learners. We think it will simply be too big to offer the personal learning experience colleges excel at. By removing ourselves from the equation, we believe, the project will become much more manageable and achievable for the three remaining colleges.

"In addition to our concerns about the proposed college’s size, we are also concerned about the development itself. Due to inevitable funding pressures, the affordability of the development is now questionable and the proposals have already been significantly altered. The original proposals committed to developing an entirely new, state-of-the-art campus; they have now been altered to only 70% new build.

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"Also, originally the proposals were for 90% of the development to be based on Cathedral Street and 10% on Thistle Street, but this has now been changed to 70% on Cathedral Street and 30% on Thistle Street.

"Because the Funding Council’s favoured option is the four-way merger, they will no longer support the two-way merger between ourselves at Glasgow Metropolitan College which means we are halting these discussions also.

"Given the scale of this project and the limited resources available for it, coupled with our reservations about the ability for such a large college to deliver appropriate learning opportunities for college students, we have decided it is no longer appropriate for us to be part of New Campus Glasgow."

Robert McGrory, principal of Stow College, added: "Stow College has earned a reputation for excellence, and is acknowledged to be one of the leading colleges in Scotland. In particular, our work in music, creative industries, science and engineering is sector-leading and I am confident these courses will continue to be in high demand in years to come.

"I am positive that the future of college provision in Glasgow is bright and that there remains a clear role for Stow College serving the communities of North West Glasgow. I also believe the New Campus Glasgow project will progress more positively as a smaller, more achievable project without the involvement of Stow College. We wish our colleagues at Central College, Nautical College and Glasgow Metropolitan College all the very best with the New Campus Glasgow project."

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