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Lews looks to the future

The principal of Lews Castle College believes that financial security by 2006, the target for all colleges, "looks achievable".

Speaking to The TES Scotland, David Green confirmed that 10 posts, including that of depute principal, would be lost in a bid to drive down costs and three staff would be made compulsorily redundant. "The board of management has done its best to minimise the effects on staff," Mr Green said.

The college has been given an extra pound;250,000 a year from the FE funding council to help it out of its difficulties pending the outcome in 2005-06 of a review into the costs of colleges serving remote areas.

Mr Green said that, while remoteness is a factor, the difficulties in filling courses because of the small population in the Western Isles is far more important. In addition, the local economy has been in a downward spiral for some time.

The college is meeting funding council officers this week to try to stabilise its position. Despite Mr Green's optimism, Lews Castle is the only college predicted by the Auditor-General to be in "very weak" financial health by 2006.

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