Three into one but it’s not a merger ...

Adam Smith College
Adam Smith College

the joining of Adam Smith College with Carnegie and Elmwood has been described as “the creation of something new” rather than a merger.

In a joint statement issued by the three further education establishments they described the move as “a unique opportunity for those involved in the delivery of college education in Fife to play a role in the establishment of a new, strategically important organisation that will benefit learners and businesses.”

The merger was agreed on June 1, to form a Regional College for Fife, sharing resources, expertise and buildings to create one super college, while retaining the individual college’s identities.

They agreed the move would build upon the strengths of each to provide Fifers with better employment and education opportunities.

However the move has prompted concerns about access for students by politicians and the NUS.

Willie Rennie, Fife MSP and Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said the new college may only provide certain courses in one of the towns where the colleges are located rather than many as at present.

“The Scottish Government seems to be obsessed with bigger is best, yet I don’t believe that it is best to deprive students of access to the course they want at their local college,’’ he said.

‘‘We want young people to get the education they need to get a job they want yet cutting local courses could put that ambition under threat.’’

n a joint statement the colleges said: “The chairmen and principals firmly believe that the formation of a new Fife Regional College will bring significant benefits to learners in Fife, giving access to the best vocational skills training together with increased opportunities to access further and higher education.

“The new college will provide the opportunity to develop further areas of specialism and centres of excellence, all under one identity.

‘‘Employers too will benefit from having a single point of contact for training and skills development.’’

A new Shadow Partnership Board will meet later this month when board members from the colleges would elect representatives to a new Partnership Board.

This would establish five groups to look at different areas, including strategy and finance; curriculum; estates; human resources and corporate services/support.

The board will then present their plans to each of the college boards and if they are approved by them they will seek Ministerial approval in Spring next year.