Principals query cuts logic

March 6, 1998

SCotland is being unfairly hit by spending cuts because of a perception that it enjoys higher funding than other parts of the United Kingdom, according to principals.

The Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals' submission to the comprehensive spending review says that in real terms funding per student is set to fall by 2.7 per cent in Scotland compared with a 0.3 per cent average cut across the country and an 0.1 per cent increase in England.

Coshep believes that ministers are being unduly influenced by a calculation for the Dearing inquiry that annual teaching costs per full-time student were 10 per cent more in Scotland than in England.

Coshep says there are other ways of comparing costs. It has submitted a paper by Arthur Midwinter, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, arguing that funding for Scotland is broadly in line with its market share of the student population.

Differences between the Scottish and English systems meant the Scottish funding council excluded part-time students, higher education provision in English FE colleges and initial teacher training in Scotland, making the 10 per cent figure misleading.

He calculates that in 1995-96, Scotland received 11.3 per cent of resources from 11 per cent of the students, but that in the following three years, public funding for Scottish higher education rose by only 2 per cent compared with 4 per cent in England.

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