Fri 28 Jun, 2019

Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson Ross Greer MSP has called on the Scottish Government to launch a review of college management practices.

Yesterday at FMQs the Greens’ Holyrood Co-Leader Patrick Harvie highlighted the poor treatment of staff at Glasgow Kelvin College where forty staff have had their temporary contracts terminated, shortly before many were to become eligible for permanent contracts under a national agreement on permanence in the college sector. This decision by college management raises the prospect of cuts to courses which students are currently applying and being accepted for, leaving many in the lurch when the new term begins in August.

In his letter Mr Greer highlights that this decision by management, “will have a serious impact on staff and students at the college.”

The letter goes on to say, “Many staff have already lost confidence in college management and a number will likely leave the sector as a result of this experience, meaning a loss of skills and expertise. This is particularly acute in areas such as additional support for learning and will undermine the delivery of further education. This also means that the college cannot guarantee it will deliver courses it is currently advertising for the next academic year, as it will not know what staff will reapply.”

The West Scotland MSP wrote, “Students who have accepted offers on courses in good faith may be left with those courses being cut without time for them to apply elsewhere. Those lecturers who do reapply will have faced a summer without pay and a disruption to the 2-years of continuous employment which would otherwise have qualified them for a permanent contract.”

Mr Greer concluded by calling for a review, “Regardless of the financial situation of the college, which I am sure we will discuss in the near future, I hope you will agree that this is no way to treat lecturing staff. I would therefore request that you immediately investigate this situation and how, despite a national agreement on permanence and clear best practice on consultation with staff, this has been allowed to happen. A review of college management practices appears to be required.”

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Mr Greer raised the matter at First Minister’s Questions today, asking whether there would be a debate before the end of the year, a question the First Minister failed to directly answer. This follows a similar refusal to answer from the Education Secretary during an opposition-led debate yesterday.

Ross Greer MSP said: