Striking lecturers and management at Ayr College have agreed to go to binding arbitration under the auspices of Acas, the arbitration service. A long-running row over pay has seen a series of walk-outs by lecturers belonging to the Educational Institute of Scotland and a vote of no confidence in principal Diane Rawlinson. Staff have rejected a 3 per cent salary rise from August 1 last year, followed by another 1.2 per cent from January and an additional 2.5 per cent for the year from this August.
Good, but no cigar
The management of Inverness College still has some way to go to win the confidence of HMIE. A follow-up inspectors' report on the troubled college gives the thumbs-up to learning and teaching and to student progress and achievement. But it says it is "not confident that the college is managing well and improving the quality of its services for learners".
Dispute steps up
Lecturers at James Watt College in Greenock have taken the next step in their continuing dispute with management and called on their union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, to ballot them on industrial action. The branch rejected a plea from local officials to give negotiations one final chance in the row over what the EIS claims is an attempt to de- recognise it, a charge the management refutes.
Running at a loss
Further education colleges have raised the alarm over the effect low interest rates are having on their investment income. Losses are running at an average of Pounds 107,000 which, according to Scotland's Colleges, "is the size of their predicted surplus for the next financial year."
Skills and learning
Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop returned from the European Education Council in Brussels last week and pledged to support a new 10-year programme for skills and learning in all the member countries. Among the targets is one aiming for an average of at least 15 per cent of the adult population participating in lifelong learning by 2020, by which time the share of 30 to 34 year olds with post-school qualifications should be at least 40 per cent.