Menu

Students rally for fairer support

Thursday 24-03-2016 - 10:34

cid:image003.jpg@01D16F0F.B2694110


• Students demonstrated outside Holyrood yesterday, calling for all parties to commit to fairer student support
• The demonstration coincided with the last day of Parliament and was addressed by student leaders and trade unions.
• The demonstration comes as figures are released showing that Scotland has the highest student dropout rate in the UK

NUS Scotland held a national demonstration yesterday, Wednesday 23 March, outside the Scottish Parliament. Under the banner ‘Shaping Scotland’s Future’, the rally coincided with the last working day of the Scottish Parliament and was attended by politicians from a variety of parties (see notes for background and photos). It also makes the formal start of NUS Scotland’s election campaign, and follows the launch of NUS Scotland’s ‘Manifesto for Fairer Support’, calling for political parties to commit to improvements in student support.

The rally also came on the same day that statistics were released showing that Scotland continues to have the highest rates of student drop-out retention rates in the UK. The figures from HESA (see notes) show that 8% of all higher education students do not continue their studies after first year, compared to an average of 7.2% across the UK.

Speaking after the rally, NUS Scotland President Vonnie Sandlan, said:
“Across every constituency, students and young people have the potential to be a hugely powerful voice in these elections, and this demonstration was about ensuring politicians recognise that power and hear our message. Despite all the progress we’ve made over the last Parliament, there’s still much more we can, and must, do to ensure that students have the necessary support to get into education, stay there, and succeed.

“When a student in further education turns up at college and finds there no money left in the bursary budget, then either suffers as a result or drops out altogether – that’s not fair access. When a higher education student never makes it back after the summer because it made more financial sense to leave their course than carry on in poverty, that’s not fair access. And when thousands of students are suffering in silence with horrible consequences because mental health provision is patchy at best, if not missing entirely – that’s not fair access.

“Students deserve fairer support, and politicians need to provide it. I was delighted to see so many MSPs come down at the end of Parliamentary business, to speak directly to students and hear their concerns with the current support system and how we can make it better. From now until polling day we will be mobilising to make sure students across Scotland leave all candidates in no doubt that the status quo simply can’t go on.”

Commenting specifically on the retention figures, Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland, said:
“It’s disappointing to see Scotland once again lying bottom at the table for student retention, with more students dropping out of education than anywhere else in the UK. While we’ve seen really strong progress in our efforts to improve fair access to higher education, that can’t stop with simply getting students into education. If we’re to truly realise our ambitions for fair access it’s vital that we ensure that the support is in place to not just get more students into education, but supports them to stay there and succeed.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made over the last Parliament, there’s still much more we can, and must, do to ensure that students have the necessary support to get into education, stay there, and succeed. Our manifesto for fairer support has been shaped by students and sets out much needed reforms that, if implemented, will have a really positive impact on some of our poorest and most in need students. Now we need to see those policies committed to and acted on.”
…ends

 

Notes:
1. NUS Scotland’s #SP16 manifesto can be found here: http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/nus-scotland-sp16-manifesto
2. Photos of the demo can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nusscotland/albums/72157666325723815
3. Following the national demonstration, the next major event in Shaping Scotland’s Future will be a national debate, featuring party leaders. To find out more, or to register to attend live, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shaping-scotlands-future-the-big-election-debate-tickets-21817239952
4. HESA Non-continuation rates, https://www.hesa.ac.uk/pr/3883-press-release-231
  

 

Young entrants

Mature entrants

All entrants

HE provider

Percentage no longer in HE (%)

Percentage no longer in HE (%)

Percentage no longer in HE (%)

Total England

5.9

11.8

7.1

Total Wales

5.8

11.8

7.1

Total Scotland

6.7

12.3

8.0

Total Northern Ireland

6.3

11.2

7.3

Total UK

6.0

11.8

7.2

 

Categories:

NUS Scotland

Related Tags :

shaping scotland future,demo,sp16,March,retention

More NUS connect Articles

More Articles...