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August 12, 2011
 
Error 418: Blog closed due to early retirement.

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Tender for New Campus
The belt
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17 Comments
  1. nessie permalink

    Scottish Government accused of butchering college funding by £74m

    Opposition politicians insist that cuts are damaging the job prospects of young people. The SNP Government is being accused of butchering funding to Scotland’s colleges by £74m over a three year period.

    The charge was made in Parliament by opposition politicians who insist that cuts are damaging the job prospects of young people.

    But the Education Secretary Michael Russell hit back arguing he was continuing to invest record levels of money whilst keeping education free for all

    Forty three publicly funded further education colleges in Scotland provide education and training for 350,000 students. But according to those who run them, they are facing a crisis.

    The budget for Scotland’s colleges was cut by 10.4% last year and according to the umbrella organisation Scotland’s Colleges, the cuts this year could be as much as 9.9%.

    They also dispute the assertions which are made by ministers that student numbers can be maintained if efficiency savings of 2% per year are made

    At North Glasgow College much of the vocational work is aimed at equipping young people with skills that will get them a job.
    Thirty per cent of students come from some of the most deprived backgrounds.

    Opposition politicians warn that cuts are making teachers redundant and threaten student numbers.

    Elizabeth Smith MSP, education spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “It is utter nonsense to say that the college cuts are all the fault of the Westminster government. It is this government, in Scotland, which had a choice to make, and it got it wrong.

    Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Hugh Henry MSP said: “They are not prepared to support the young people from deprived areas. They are not prepared to support the women who want to develop their skills and potential.”

    Last year 1,000 staff left colleges. More could follow this year.

    The SNP have a manifesto commitment to maintain student numbers and that spending on the sector will be half a billion pounds in the coming year.

    Education Secretary Michael Russell MSP said: “From 2007 until the end of the current spending review, we will have invested £4.7b in colleges alone – 40% more, in cash terms, than the investment made under the two terms of the previous administration.”

    Colleges are in the Cinderella sector, most attention going to the more politically sensitive universities. But if student numbers are not maintained this is one issue that will haunt SNP ministers

  2. nessie permalink

    Commenting after the Education Secretary gave a statement on Higher and Further Education Governance, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for the North East, Alison McInnes said:

    Alison McInnes MSP“Obviously Michael Russell thinks he knows better than College Principals on how to run their colleges.

    “Colleges are being put under central diktat as the Scottish Government tries to grab all the power to the centre. First it was our local police forces, now we are seeing it with our colleges.

    “I am particularly concerned by the proposals to siphon off what are judged to be excess college reserves. In many cases colleges will have carefully built up their reserves as part of plans to undertake particular local projects or improvements.

    “The Cabinet Secretary denied that this proposal was on the table but the report from Professor Griggs couldn’t be clearer. Either Mr Russell has not read this report or he is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

    “Colleges are already facing budget cuts thanks to SNP choices and now they face having most of their reserves taken away and used by central Government.

    “Instead of shouting down anyone who dares challenge him, the Education Secretary needs to come clean and tell colleges what the SNP’s plans will actually mean for their budgets and reserves.”

  3. Princess Leia permalink

    The ELF tells us there are to be new ways of working in this college. Saturday and Sunday are the new discretionary time. He urges us “Don’t forget, take some work home, it shows your commitment to the college”. Two things to say to him, if he can only make the merged college viable by shamelessly badgering and bullying people to work massive amounts of unpaid overtime then that says a lot more about his level of competence than our commitment. Secondly, most of us used to work at least double the contractual five hours of home-working. We stopped doing it when the new executive showed us their theory of management is not about being supportive and encouraging. On the contrary, their default position is we are lazy and can’t be trusted to take our responsibilities seriously. This is offensive, especially from an individual who can only be motivated by an unjustified £150,000 remuneration package.

  4. Topple permalink

    Our friends by the river side are still getting their international perks. Another all expenses paid trip to the far east this week. That takes them into double figures for the year. We will have to pay for it of course, along with the four million pounds they forgot to claim. We have had to send a finance expert to try and recover the grants and fees they should have claimed in August.

    • Shining Bright permalink

      Wrong end of the stick or what. Students from Asia and Africa bring in millions of pounds worth of fees every year. The ‘all expenses paid trip’ is part of our annual recruitment drive that persuades them to come here. As to unclaimed fees of £4M, the incompetence occurred at Headquarters not the Thistle Street Branch Office.

      Interestingly our illustrious leader sent a letter to the Education Secretary also referring to £4 million pounds, however this was in the black not in the red.

      His letter referred to “remarkable progress … a new fit for purpose management structure, harmonised lecturers salaries … promoting a clear learning and teaching strategy” and “realising over £4 million a year of financial efficiencies”.

      The current question is would we have lost the £4 million if the college hadn’t been savaged by a ‘fit for purpose management structure’. The next question is about Her Majesty’s Inspector of Education visit scheduled for May. Will our ‘clear learning and teaching strategy’ be evident to them.

      • Angry and Naughty permalink

        The ELF thinks we have a ‘fit for purpose management structure does he? That would explain why our staff are so fed up they are resigning. It would explain why nobody has even bothered to try and replace them. It certainly wouldn’t explain how we are supposed to meet our committments with too few resources and it wouldn’t explain what we should say when our biggest customer puts in a serious complaint. As for the threats, bring it on. What would the press say when we tell the tribunal the claims of ‘remarkable progress’ amount to telling porkies to the Minister.

        • Perses permalink

          Didums. Did the nasty man shout at you? No sympathy. It’s the students who should be Angry and Naughty. You care nothing for them and even less for us. All you care about is protecting your newly elevated status. You wrecked so much and then blame us for the disaster. What did you expect, a pat on the back? Good on you Tinyman!

  5. Mabon permalink

    It is not only the workers who are demoralised. Managers are concerned at the ongoing bedlam and say we may have to be bailed out by the Scottish Government. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been lost due to poor organisation while much more has been spent on obliterating all traces of the old college names. Even with the obvious mistakes – nobody can understand how it is possible for the finances to be in trouble when the college was given more than £4 million for redundancies and early retirement plus another £8.5 million to meet merger costs.

    • Petadog permalink

      From an organisational point of view, one of the benefits of merger is the chaos it causes. The inertia of inefficient practice is disturbed thus creating an environment where beneficial change can flourish. Unfortunately, we are not reaping the rewards of change because a culture of fear has been allowed to thrive. Some would say it has not only been allowed to thrive but has been positively encouraged by senior management. Nobody feels free to use their own initiative. Decisions are either referred upwards or postponed until serious problems develop.

      At the same time, we are told the aim is to achieve a supportive, empowering culture. The ‘inverted pyramid’ of management has been trotted out to emphasise this. What we have in practice is a sixties style culture where managers assume we are all lazy and need to be closely monitored, a culture more suited to an old fashioned production line than a college largely made up of professional people.

      The problems with structure and procedure are an almost inevitable consequence of merger. They are an opportunity for improvement. The intractable problem is pretending to have a supportive culture when in practice it is a controlling one. In essence, this is dishonest and provokes distrust. The collar and cuffs do not match. Until we can find a way to make them match the future is downhill.

      • Doodle permalink

        This starts from the very top. Tinyman intimidates ordinary staff wherever he meets them, in meetings, in corridors and in lifts. Does he not know what he is doing or does he not care? It matters little. What does matter is he is creating a climate where managers believe they are following his wishes when they go beyond being assertive and move into the territory of intimidation and bullying.

        Consequently, many bad decisions being made resulting in lost income worth hundreds of thousands of pounds with a similar amount going on wasteful and useless purchases.

        The loss in the current financial year dwarfs the surpluses the old colleges used to produce.

        At some point, more staff are going to have to be made redundant because of the financial mess we are now in.

  6. Vasco permalink

    The end is nigh, well nearly. It has been announced that SMarT funding, i.e. the money the government pays to Merchant Navy training providers is under review ‘having regard to current financial constraints’. The government may decide to reduce or even stop SMarT money. The only commitment they are prepared to make is to continue funding current cadets until they pass their first watch-keeping certificate. At the same time the UK borders agency are looking to reduce the number of visas available for our international students to almost zero. The worst-case scenario is a reduction of eight million pounds to annual income. Looks like Maritime is about to be thrown to the wolves.

  7. Q. What is the difference between the City of Glasgow College and a bunch of terrorists?

    A. You can negotiate with a bunch of terrorists.

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  9. Not The Baron permalink

    What have I come back to ????????

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