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Cumbernauld's MSP calls for "guarantees" over "local access" to college courses

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:54 GMT on Friday 29th March, 2013.

CUMBERNAULD’S MSP has called for “local access” to college courses.

Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth has made three calls for the future provision of college education in the area, in his response to the consultation on the proposed merger of Cumbernauld and Motherwell Colleges.

The consultation closed last Friday (22nd March, 2013), and the area’s MSP has said that the new college will have to “ensure” that courses are still “offered locally”.

In his response to the merger consultation, Mr Hepburn writes: “Those who attend college, and those who seek to do so, require local access to courses in the fields they wish to pursue.  I would appreciate your consideration of this important issue, and that if a merger proceeds, the new college will ensure that the courses that students are currently taking at Cumbernauld College will as far as is possible, and concurrent with demand, still be offered locally.

“I hope that any merger will have a minimal negative impact on the staff, and that in the future the new college would enhance their experience of employment in the college sector.

“There may be an understandable tendency towards utilising North Lanarkshire as the name of any merged Cumbernauld-Motherwell College, given both towns are within the North Lanarkshire area.  However, neither Cumbernauld nor Kilsyth are part of the historic county of Lanarkshire… neither community readily identifies with Lanarkshire.  Instead, other names should be considered that would be more inclusive.”

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Commenting, the town’s MSP said that local access is “vital” and that no changes should be felt “negatively”.

The MSP said: “If Cumbernauld College is to merge with Motherwell then it is vital that local access to courses is retained as far as is possible, and that staff shouldn’t feel any change impacts on them negatively.  Indeed, a merger should be used to enhance the experience of staff and students alike.

“I will be looking for reassurances in this regard.  If any merger is to be viewed positively in the local area then these matters will be important.

“The name of any newly merged College will be important too.  This may seem superficial, but I don’t believe that people will identify with something called ‘North Lanarkshire College’ – which may be viewed as a likely choice.  In my experience, people in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth don’t readily identify with North Lanarkshire, so the name has to be something that can include them.

“I look forward to the Colleges assessment of the responses their consultation has garnered, and what they report back.”

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