Review of Further and Higher Education in Scotland

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has been commissioned by Scottish Government to review the coherence and sustainability of further and higher education in Scotland.

The RSE convened a discussion involving Fellows and Young Academy members with a range of experiences and interests related to tertiary education in Scotland. The discussion, held under the Chatham House Rule, focused on the priority issues that the SFC review should consider. The discussion was attended by senior SFC staff.

The review provides an opportunity to consider the purposes of tertiary education in a systemic and holistic way, ensuring that provision effectively and efficiently meets the current and future needs of learners and those of the Scottish economy and society more broadly.

The discussion highlighted the need to:

  • Consider more creative and flexible ways of delivering learning and teaching that meet the needs of learners and employers;
  • Develop a tertiary education system that can flexibly and agilely respond to changing skills needs;
  • Ensure lifelong learning is realised in practice;
  • Consider whether the SFC should play a more active role in influencing the research agenda for Scottish institutions;
  • Consider underlying Scottish Government policy assumptions about the future shape and funding of tertiary education. While continued ‘free’ tuition for full-time Scottish students is a legitimate policy choice for government to make, it constrains the review and puts pressure on Scotland’s public finances. It is therefore important that the SFC adopts an open mind; and
  • Look at the learner journey more broadly to improve collaboration between schools, colleges and universities and to make the most effective and efficient use of the public investment in education.

The Discussion Report is available here.