At least three sex offenders per year have enrolled on to courses at Dundee & Angus College since 2015, it has been revealed.
In 2015/16, four sex offenders with previous convictions for sexual offences — which includes crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and indecent exposure — enrolled.
In the following academic year three signed up and to-date in 2017/18, three students with previous convictions have been accepted to study at the college.
Dundee & Angus College said that it “takes its responsibilities for safeguarding and restorative justice seriously” and that a full risk assessment is completed on a case by case basis when an applicant has “serious convictions” or is on the sex offenders’ register.
The assessment would either result in no place being offered, or a place being offered with specific conditions and requirements being attached.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr said that though rehabilitation was important, a “close watch” must be kept on sex offenders, particularly in settings such as colleges.
He said: “One of the most important parts of Scottish justice is the role of rehabilitation, alongside any punishment or restriction of liberty.
“Anyone who has been convicted of a crime should not be prevented from reforming and going on to become a productive member of society.
“Education can be a big part of that.
“However, a close watch must be kept on sex offenders when they enter a setting where there may be young and vulnerable people.
“A campus can often be like a secondary school in that regard.
“Anyone assessed as being a threat should not be permitted to be there.
“Colleges must exercise the most rigorous safety standards and co-ordinate with police to risk assess every applicant.”
The college said the offenders were not subject to any special arrangements under the Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), which ensures the successful management of violent and sexual offenders.
However, police and social services have been involved in vetting each one of the applicants.
A spokesperson from Dundee & Angus College said: “The college takes its joint responsibilities for safeguarding and restorative justice seriously and has effective arrangements in place to manage risk whilst also supporting appropriate opportunities for rehabilitation.
“In any circumstance where there is doubt, however, the requirements for safeguarding take precedence.
“Through the recruitment process the college identifies potential students with any relevant convictions (including those on the sex offenders’ register).
“For those with serious convictions and those on the sex offenders’ register a full risk assessment is completed on a case by case basis including liaison with police/criminal justice/social work or other support agencies as required.
“This may result in no place being offered, or a place being offered with specific conditions and requirements being attached. Adherence to any conditions would be monitored and any breach picked up under the student discipline arrangements.
“For a significant range of courses criminal convictions checks are required under the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme and admittance to the course (or engagement in the work placement elements of the course) would not be possible for any learner on the sex offenders register.”