Edinburgh College to give place to all Capital pupils who apply

Every school leaver will be guaranteed a place at college. Picture: Neil Hanna

Every school leaver will be guaranteed a place at college. Picture: Neil Hanna

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EVERY pupil in the Capital will be guaranteed a place at college under plans aimed at ensuring they achieve their career ambitions.

Edinburgh College has promised to help every youngster who applies find a course at the right level for the 2016-17 session.

We’ve worked with schools to learn what their students need and make sure no-one misses out”

ANNETTE BRUTON

Bosses said the new offer – which has been extended to East Lothian and Midlothian – would cover the college’s range of full-time courses.

Subject areas include business, construction and building crafts, the creative industries, engineering, English as a second language and health.

The move comes after college bosses set out plans to cut, merge or shrink less popular courses with poor job prospects.

They have also put together a “transformation plan” in response to new Scottish Funding Council (SFC) policies which impose caps on the amount of money provided for each student.

This has prompted a fresh drive to boost recruitment as much as possible, amid a risk that failure to meet targets could result in the SFC “clawing back” funding.

Principal Annette Bruton said: “We’ve never been able to guarantee a place to all school-leavers before but it’s really important that we find new ways of providing more opportunities so everyone gets a chance to make the most of themselves.

“We’re the only college in our area and it’s up to us to give people enough options to get on track for education and careers.

“The college already has courses to suit most levels but, where people don’t have the qualifications needed for a certain level of study, we’re looking at how we can shape our curriculum to make sure everyone has a good entry point into education at the right level for them.”

She added: “We’ve worked really closely with schools to learn what their students need and make sure no-one misses out. We have a responsibility to the young people in our communities and we’re confident this will give them what they need to succeed.”

Schools have backed the scheme.

Michael McGee, head of St Augustine’s RC High, said: “We are in full support of this exciting new initiative. This new guarantee is ensuring that every young person will continue lifelong learning to help them in their chosen career pathway.”

Union bosses welcomed the commitment on student places but said limiting choice by cutting courses could lead to further falls in enrolment.

A spokesman for the EIS Further Education Lecturers Association said: “[This is] but one example of the concerns we have long articulated, without success, to our senior management team in respect of their new application process.

“We fear this will further escalate a drop in numbers for a college staff remain very proud of, and a public service we remain determined to deliver on.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com