Provision of further and higher education, etc.
Section 3 The Council: general duty
9.This section sets out the primary duty on the new Council, which will be to exercise its functions to secure the coherent provision by fundable bodies (as a whole) of high quality fundable further education and fundable higher education (as these terms are defined in the Act). This section also gives the Council a duty to exercise its functions to secure the undertaking of research among the fundable bodies, as these are defined in the Act.
Section 4 The Scottish Ministers: general duty
10.The Scottish Ministers will be required to provide support for further and higher education, primarily by making grants to the Council but also through such other means as they determine, financial and non-financial. A recent example of an activity which might in future fall under this power to support through other means is the hosting of an international seminar as part of the Bologna process for higher education reform in Europe.
Section 5 Fundable further and higher education
11.This provides definitions of fundable further and higher education for the purposes of this Act, updating where necessary to reflect changes to some school qualifications. The definitions in the Act therefore differ from those for ‘further education’ and ‘higher education’ in the 1992 Act, (which remain for the purposes of that Act and references elsewhere to them).
Section 6 Fundable Bodies
12.This refers to Schedule 2 which lists the fundable bodies. All institutions currently funded by the Scottish Further Education Funding Council or the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council will become fundable bodies once the new Council is created.
Section 7 Fundable Bodies: further provision
13.The listing of bodies in schedule 2 can only be modified by Order of the Scottish Ministers following a recommendation, or approval of, the Council. This section outlines the criteria that the Council must have regard to the desirability of ensuring are met, before the Council recommends or approves that a new body is added to, or removed from, the list of fundable bodies in schedule 2. These criteria include various provisions, procedures and arrangements.
14.When proposing or approving a modification to the effect that any new fundable body should be added to schedule 2 by such an order, subsection (3) requires the Council to recommend to Ministers whether, and to what extent, the new body should come under the remit of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
15.The matters which the Council must have regard to do not apply where the modification of schedule 2 is required by reason of a change of name of, or closure of, a fundable body (subsection (5)).
Section 8 Support needs
16.This section defines the term ‘support needs’ for the purposes of the Act. The need for support is linked to a person’s ability to access and participate in fundable further or fundable higher education, as compared with other people of the same age group. Students experience barriers in accessing and participating in learning for many reasons, and may therefore require support. Such a barrier may arise from factors relating to, for example, social, cognitive, emotional, psychological, linguistic, disability (physical or mental), ethnicity or family and care circumstances. These support needs may range from those needs that are relatively mild and temporary through to those that are complex and more enduring. But a support need may not arise solely due to the matters set out in subsection (3).