English envy as Scots cry freedom

24th February 2006 at 00:00
Colleges in Scotland will be freed from direct Government control, the FE minister has confirmed.

As FE Focus reported last week, a change in the law meant colleges would lose charitable status if ministers kept their right to intervene directly in their affairs.

On Monday, Nicol Stephen, Scotland's minister for lifelong learning, announced that he would give up powers to direct colleges by the time the charities legislation comes into force in April.

Colleges south of the border have expressed a hope that the change in Scotland might herald an era of increased autonomy for them as well.

Mr Stephen said: "Charitable status is very important to colleges, providing a financial benefit of approximately pound;20 million per year.

"If powers of direction had been kept, this charitable status would have been lost.

"I am confident that there are sufficiently robust safeguards available to Parliament, the Scottish Funding Council and the new Charities Regulator to ensure our public investment in the college sector is adequately protected."

Ministers will still have powers to close a college or remove the board of governors in extreme cases, with Parliamentary approval. They also expect to use conditions attached to funding to influence colleges' policies.

Joseph Lee

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today