Learning the hard way – FE staff survey – Sep 2015

LearningTheHardWay_FEstaffsurvey_Sep2015-thumbnailLearning the hard way – Survey of Further Education Members September 2015

Key findings

  • Number of colleges has reduced from 37 to 20
  • Real terms funding has fallen by 12.3%
  • Colleges have transferred £99m to independent foundations.
  • Colleges have secured about £20 million from these funds
  • 64% of staff in colleges who responded to our survey feel
    the service has declined. 77% doubtful or extremely doubtful
    that services will improve within 1 year
  • 72% of respondents say dissatisfied or very dissatisfied in opportunities for advancement.
  • Staff morale is at rock bottom with 79% of respondents saying staff felt negative or extremely negative at their colleges.
  • 90% of respondents believe sector underfunded.
  • 63% said lack of transparency on mergers was a key issue and 70% say trust levels in management low


UNISON believes that further education colleges play a crucial role in lifelong learning
and the health and well being of our communities. They provide opportunities
for many to study full-time and on to higher education or skilled jobs. They are much
more than this.

Part-time courses are vital for both those with caring responsibilities or in paid work
to continue to learn and gain new skills. Even so called hobby courses like car maintenance
or cookery classes can be a vital stepping stone to learning for many. They
enable confidence building, are an opportunity for contact with new people. This can
be life changing steps for many marginalised, oppressed and or lonely people and offer
continued stimulation, mental challenges and social interaction. These improve both
physical and mental health for all.

The sector is undergoing radical change at a time of substantial budget cuts. This
survey indicated that this is having a severe impact of the services colleges provide and
that staff are under enormous pressure as they attempt to deliver a high quality service.


See more in PDF survey report

See also
The damage to our public services

A series of UNISON Scotland reports on how austerity is hitting public services and how we can protect them
Public Works
UNISON Scotland campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and a Living Wage