Situation re College Finances – Reply to the Press

"The situation with regard to the College finances is not entirely new and I was aware that some work would be required in this area when I took up the post. The actual position could only be fully known after the publication of the end of year accounts for 2006/07 but as these are not yet in the public domain because of Parliamentary procedure, I therefore can't comment in detail. The difficulties which Elmwood faces aren't uncommon in Further Education in Scotland but land-based colleges have additional facilities which are expensive to maintain. Golf is a key area of provision for Elmwood and we have established a world-class reputation which will help in our long term prospects in this niche area. I, along with other land-based college principals, am involved in discussions with the SFC about new methods of funding that might help to address this funding issue. The Board of Management have an excellent overview of the running of the College and its Finance Committee meets on a regular basis to discuss in detail the college’s financial situation and this is shared with the full board. The Board of Management and staff are absolutely committed to our sustained development – we have a bright future and a stable financial position will provide a spring board for our new strategy. The College’s reserves will be used to maintain future financial security but this is principally in the area of capital expenditure. Current accounting policies which apply to the Further Education sector do not permit the use of reserves to meet ongoing revenue costs such as salaries, pay awards, or the like. The proposals we are consulting on - there are no decisions as yet - will help us achieve a firm financial foundation for the next stage of Elmwood's development. I made the situation known to staff in general terms in December 2007 and I have responded to subsequent queries from unions. The initial part of the process is to formally consult with Unions and this is scheduled to begin on Friday 28 March 2008. At this stage, we are seeking to engage colleagues in consultation on a number of options which are designed to have the minimum impact on the teaching and learning at Elmwood and to uphold our excellent reputation in delivering a quality learning experience. The College has a large number of temporary staff and their contracts normally terminate at the end of each academic year and this year is no different. Most of them are re-engaged in the following academic year, once the teaching requirements dictated by the student demand for courses for that year are known. The current proposals, which are to be the subject of the consultation exercise, would potentially affect less than 3% of the College staff.

 

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