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Ministers must act

Falkirk College has strong connections with its surrounding schools, a link it is determined to maintain.

But there is "a built-in financial disincentive". Colleges are resourced to deliver a set amount of student activity and if they exceed this by building on school-college links they receive no extra cash.

"These links are important in allowing us to offer curricular flexibility and vocational options to our pupils, two policies to which the Scottish Executive attaches considerable importance," John Bonington of Falkirk Council says.

"But there is definitely an issue for the Executive to address in how it is going to sustain these links."

The Executive's lifelong learning strategy committed it to "develop a joint schoolsFE strategy and implementation plan, including review of funding mechanisms".

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