Cutbacks blamed for rising number of students on college waiting list

Edinburgh College
Edinburgh College
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FURIOUS union bosses have linked funding cutbacks to the rising number of prospective students left lingering on the waiting list for the new Edinburgh College.

New figures have revealed there are currently 1205 young people waiting to get on full time courses at the new super-college, of which around half are school leavers aged 16-19.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has laid the blame for the lengthy waiting list on cutbacks.

It claims lecturers losing their jobs has resulted in course provision being lost.

But the college hit back, claiming the number of students on the waiting list is high due to sheer demand.

Students on the waiting list can slot into courses if a place becomes available.

A spokesman for the EIS said: “The number of young people waiting for courses is a consequence of funding cuts.

“These cuts have cost many lecturers and support staff their jobs and led to a narrowing of course provision.

“The end result is that many young people have seen their opportunities for further education greatly diminished.”

According to in-house college figures, there are currently 624 people on the waiting list aged 16-19, with 28 under 16. There are also 234 aged 20-24 and 291 over 24.

Edinburgh College was formed last month as a result of the merger between Telford, Jewel & Esk, and Stevenson colleges, and now has four campuses.

A spokesman for the college accepted demand is high, but suggested that some students on the waiting list may have found employment or a course elsewhere, but not informed them.

The range of subjects that have waiting lists spans the whole college but is more 
concentrated on specialist courses such as hospitality and tourism, and hair and beauty.

An Edinburgh College spokeswoman said: “A high number of courses have had waiting lists, due to the large number of applications.

“We are working hard to accommodate as many learners as we can. Where students are on waiting lists, we are offering them alternative courses”

There are currently around 35,000 students at the college. Earlier this month we revealed how management are being invited to apply for voluntary redundancy as part of a major boardroom restructure.

Last week John Henderson, chief executive of the umbrella group Scotland’s Colleges, said demand for college places was not being met and that prospective students were being turned away.

National figures released by the organisation showed there are 21,280 applications – more than double previous estimates – in the waiting list system.

The figures do not represent the number of individual students because it is common to make more than one application.

Colleges across Scotland face significant cuts to teaching budgets – 24 per cent in real terms between 2011 and 2015.