SFC announces teaching-finance overhaul

Council plans to slash funding bands, raising the possibility of cuts in some subjects. Hannah Fearn reports

October 3, 2009

The Scottish Funding Council has revealed controversial plans to overhaul the way it funds university teaching.

At present, subjects are grouped into 12 bands for the allocation of £700 million in annual teaching funding.

Under the plans unveiled by the SFC today, the number of bands will be cut to just four, leaving many subjects at risk of significant cuts.

If the plans are approved, some subjects, such as the sciences, will see an increase in funding per student, while others, including education, computing and nursing, will see reductions.

Post-1992 universities in Scotland, including Queen Margaret University and Glasgow Caledonian University, could experience funding cuts of up to 4 per cent as a result of the changes.

The plans, which are subject to a consultation process scheduled to last until December, have been criticised by the sector.

Universities have indicated that they do not see a reason to simplify the existing system, which they believe works effectively.

One source close to the consultation process said: “Why does it need simplifying? We’re not in the age of the abacus.”

Petra Wend, principal of Queen Margaret, said she had spoken to Pamela Gillies, principal of Glasgow Caledonian, and to other university heads to co-ordinate a response to the plans.

hannah.fearn@tsleducation.com

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