30 Jan 2013

MSP Hugh backs students in Fund Scotland's Future fight

Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry is backing students from Reid Kerr College who are collecting signatures for a petition calling on the Scottish Government to reverse the proposed £34.6m cut to colleges next year.

The drive is part of a larger effort across Scotland asking students and the community to sign up to NUS Scotland Fund Scotland’s Future petition at www.fundscotlandsfuture.org, which calls on MSPs of every party to support the campaign and protect college funding.

Students are concerned over plans to merge Reid Kerr College with two other further education institutions - James Watt College, which is based in Greenock, and Clydebank College to create a new West of Scotland regional college in the summer of this year.

The move has come about as a result of cost-cutting measures being backed by the Scottish Government.

John Kelly, branch secretary of the EIS Scotland education union, said the plans involve “an enormous shake-up” and he expressed concern about the potential impact on students and jobs.

Reid Kerr College students are looking to repeat the success of last year’s Our Future Our Fight campaign which successfully called on MSPs to reverse an £11.4m cut in college bursary support, and protect college student support, places, local access and quality in Scotland's colleges. In the three months of the campaign over 80,000 emails were sent to MSPs from students, staff and the wider community, and resulted in an additional £40m of investment in Scotland’s colleges.

Michelle McCrorie, President of Reid Kerr College Students’ Association, said: “Colleges have the ability to change communities and lives. Reid Kerr College has continually created opportunities for people to enter post-16 education for the first time, and our diverse course programme has given others the opportunity to return to education and re-skill.