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Funding chiefs are all ears

The Scottish Further Education Funding Council wants to talk. And it is offering colleges the chance to influence national policy in the process.

The council has written to colleges proposing regional and national forums each year to discuss matters of moment. These would involve college principals and chairs along with leading representatives from the council.

Roger McClure, the council's chief executive, said in his letter that it was looking for two-way exchanges which "should give an opportunity to consider how colleges can respond most effectively and coherently to the national priorities identified by the Scottish Executive in its lifelong learning strategy and other important strategy statements".

It should also give the sector more scope to influence and shape national policy, Mr McClure said. "This is important because the knowledge and expertise in delivering effective further education resides principally with colleges."

Regional discussions will be held in June in Dundee, Paisley and Inverness, with the national forum taking place in October.

Suggested topics for regional events include area mapping and college collaboration, plus a new governance and management memorandum for colleges.

The national forum, meanwhile, might consider progress towards the merger of the funding councils, the outcomes of the Executive's spending review, due to be unveiled in September, and knowledge transfer.

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