Scotland’s colleges are vital to learners and local communities. Risks to the college sector’s financial sustainability have increased since we reported in 2022. Rising staffing costs are colleges’ biggest financial pressure.
The Scottish Government’s funding for the sector has reduced by 8.5 per cent in real terms between 2021/22 and 2023/24, while the sector’s costs have increased. Effective, affordable workforce planning is now a greater than ever priority and challenge for colleges.
Significant changes to how the college sector operates have been recommended by recent reviews. However, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council urgently need to build on their ongoing work to help colleges plan for change now, and make best use of available funding so that they are sustainable for the future.