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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-02153: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 25 August 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the findings in the Audit Scotland report, Scotland's colleges 2016, whether it will conduct an assessment of the impact that its college reform policies have had on women and over-25s who have been mostly affected by these.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 14 September 2016

Learners over 25 years old are well represented in our colleges. In 2014-15, 27% of all learning hours were delivered to such learners, representing an investment of £104 million. Moreover, full-time students aged 25 and over at colleges have increased by 31% since 2006-07.

The Audit Scotland report highlights that gender balance is broadly equal, with women accounting for the majority of the college population – 52% in 2014-15. The Scottish Funding Council continues to monitor gender imbalance on college courses as part of its Gender Action Plan published on 12 August 2016.