Colleges merger plan pushes on

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PROPOSALS to merge Langside, Cardonald and Anniesland colleges into a new facility for south and west Glasgow are being pushed forward by each institution.

Chairmen of each college’s board of management met this week to discuss the proposition, which came into action earlier this year as a response to government cuts to college budgets across Scotland.

Each has agreed to go ahead with the plan, stating no legal or financial obstacles to the merger — meaning it can now officially proceed.

Chair of the Langside board of management, Brian Keegan, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to move forward with this.

“Our aim is that it will broaden the opportunities for our learners and staff, and enable us to contribute more to our stakeholders and communities”.

Mark Toma, management board chairman of fellow southside college Cardonald, added: “We are three strong colleges and and as a unit we will be a stronger force in education in Scotland”.

The trio of colleges currently have a combined student body of around 30,000, and Langside has claimed positive reactons to the proposal from staff and students.

However, the plan prompted complaints from Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors earlier this year, who suggested that the merger was forced into action by SNP funding cuts.

The claim was given weight when Langside’s former principal Graeme Hyslop (succeeded on an interim basis this week by Andrew Haddon) referred to the collaboration as “essential given the impending reductions in core funding”.

Langside councillor and Cathcart MSP James Dornan (SNP) defended the move, responding that all feedback from staff and students has, so far, been positive.

The proposed merge will also follow the launch of the new £32.6 million Langside campus, opened in February by first minister Alex Salmond.

A full consultation — both internal and external — on the project will be launched on August 27, running until November 16.

The planned vesting date for the new super college is August next year, and each college has promises that courses will continue as normal during any merger processes.