Ministers should step in to save a closure-threatened junior college in Glasgow set up by one of Scotland’s richest men.

The Scottish Conservatives are calling on education secretary John Swinney to intervene in a row over the closure of Newlands Junior College, set up by entrepreneur Jim McColl.

The college seeks to give opportunities to teenagers who have become disengaged from mainstream education, offering them vocational skills and an apprenticeship.

The venture has been jointly funded by Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government for an interim period, but that funding has now come to an end.

Both the council and the Scottish Government had tied funding to an evaluation of the project, which has not yet been completed.

Liz Smith, education spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “Having seen for myself, on two separate occasions, the outstanding work that was taking place in the college to inspire young people who had felt disengaged from school, l was very persuaded of the role that such an institution can play in Scottish education.

“Too often at present in Scotland, we see attempts to diversify the educational experience thwarted, even when that diversification is proving successful.”

Glasgow City Council said its expectation was that the funding it had provided for 2018/19 covered the period to the end of the academic year in June.

A spokeswoman said: “Our focus is on finding the appropriate support and placements for the young people who’ve found themselves displaced by the sudden closure of Newlands Junior College.

“We are working hard to minimise the disruption to their learning by working with our partners and colleges to ensure we have a range of options available to suit the needs of the students.

“Our officers will meet all the young people and their families next week to offer a range of support and pathways.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The 2018/19 grant award made it clear we would make no further contribution to Newlands College’s costs, and we expect the college to work with Glasgow City Council to ensure an orderly transition to council provision.”