In brief

Childcare boost

An additional Pounds 5 million is to be given to 32 colleges to meet childcare costs which were deterring many students, such as lone parents, from taking college places. The Scottish Funding Council has agreed the extra money is necessary to stop students dropping out, but said a longer-term solution will be necessary. The cash comes on top of a 9.6 per cent increase in the FE childcare fund for this year.

Lecturers wanted

Heriot-Watt University last week unveiled a strategy to increase academic staff numbers by 50 per cent over 10 years, reversing the trend to shed university lecturers' jobs. First Minister Alex Salmond was on hand to underscore the significance of the move, which will link the university's focus to the needs of the economy, creating academic jobs related to energy, the environment, life and physical sciences, transport infrastructure, and risk modelling. However, other posts will go to make way for the new jobs.

Facilities review

A leading firm of asset management specialists is to review the FE estate for the Scottish Funding Council. Currie and Brown undertook a similar review in 2006. It said that although capital investment in FE was at "unprecedented" levels, a total asset management approach was essential "to ensure the life cycle of buildings is optimally managed".

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