Our Statement on Proposals to Close UHI Perth Nursery

Last week, we received a paper shared by UHI Perth senior management to staff considering how they could save money to combat their financial deficit of £4 million, driven by cuts in funding to all Scotland’s Colleges.

Last week, we received a paper shared by UHI Perth senior management to staff considering how they could save money to combat their financial deficit of £4 million, driven by cuts in funding to all Scotland’s Colleges.  

The current proposal is to close the nursery on campus and the loss of 70 jobs through a voluntary redundancy scheme. 

For several months, regular communication from Senior Management has been sent to UHI Perth staff, detailing the work being done to ensure financial sustainability and open meetings with SMT members have been made available throughout the consultation process. A timeline of the next stages of the consultation has also been shared with staff. Despite asking, we are not aware of how students have been informed of these changes, with the exception of students who use the nursery being informed of its potential closure. 

We understand this is a challenging time for both Further and Higher Education institutions across Scotland and the UK. Institutions like UHI Perth are receiving less money per student. This means finding a sustainable path forward is proving difficult. 

As the Students’ Association, we must be clear that these cuts will impact current and prospective students looking to study at Perth. Whilst we’re thankful that Perth and Kinross Council have offered support to Student Parents who rely on the Nursery, we know that council services across Scotland aren’t immune to the same financial pressures that UHI Perth is facing. 

Our Perth President, Fiona Smith, said the following. 

“I am really disappointed in the Scottish Government who have made cuts to Education across Scotland. This is now a national issue and the impact is being seen across the sector, not just at Perth. I urge the government to reconsider their position as this will have a huge effect on post-16 education in our country. 

The lack of communication and reassurance from UHI Perth to students is disappointing in these challenging times - despite myself and my Depute President, Rebecca Bond, asking about student communications around the work being done on financial sustainability, students discovered this news through the local press instead of their institution - a repeat of this time last year.  

We also empathise with staff across UHI Perth who will be affected by this who, as we've seen from this year's OBI Award nominations, go above and beyond for our members.” 

Our Perth Depute President (Activities and Welfare), Rebecca Bond, said the following.

“A considerable number of our students, particularly those that use the nursery facilities, will understandably be anxious regarding the proposed cuts and lack of course security at UHI Perth. Your Students' Association team are here to support you wherever possible and ensuring that all students are informed promptly of any communications or decisions is crucial.  

Our students will always be at the heart of what we do, and we want to make sure their best interests are put first in regards to any changes made at UHI Perth.” 

And finally, our Cross Campus President, William Campbell, said the following. 

“I am deeply disappointed in the initial lack of communication from UHI Perth Senior Leadership Team to the Students of UHI Perth, especially after information about proposed changes were leaked through the press. This feeds into the wider conversation across UHI about how students being the key stakeholders are communicated with about proposed changes and restructures due to the tough financial climate.  

I am disappointed further by the continued lack of solutions from the Scottish Government and Scottish funding council about support for colleges that are facing financial hardship, because of the Scottish Governments £100 Million cuts to the Further and Higher Education sector. These cuts are becoming detrimental to the future of many people within the UHI region and as students of UHI we need proper solutions not automated blanket responses from key politicians who have the influence to make change.  

I urge UHI Perth SLT to communicate in depth with students and consider their position on some of the proposed changes” 

Following this, we will continue to inform our members about how this news may impact your experience at UHI Perth. 
We have begun meeting with trade union colleagues and will be meeting with the Principal and Chief Executive at the end of this week to share concerns we have already heard from our students. If students have any concerns they wish to share they can get in touch by emailing hisa.perth@uhi.ac.uk or anonymously completing this form.

We also plan to raise our concerns with Board Members at UHI Perth, wider UHI colleagues and local parliamentarians to ensure the best outcome for students today and tomorrow.