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Colleges 'cutting jobs and courses'

Many colleges have already been forced to axe jobs and courses as a result of funding cuts, a survey suggests.

The majority say more cuts are on the way, with some colleges admitting they have had to turn potential students away.

Union leaders raised concerns that funding has been "cut to the quick", with students pushed out of further education.

The poll of 146 colleges, conducted by Unison and the University and College Union (UCU), found 93% say they have already seen redundancies and four fifths (80%) have cut courses and resources.

More than half (53%) of those questioned said other college posts are currently at risk, while 60 said they are planning to close courses over the next 12 months, with a further 42 saying they are reviewing them.

Nearly one in four (23%) said they have been forced to turn potential students away due to cuts.

Chris Fabby, Unison's national officer for further education, said: "Colleges are being cut to the quick. They have already axed a huge number of jobs and courses. We fear for the future, as the survey shows that the worst is yet to come."

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "In the week that Nick Clegg spoke about the importance of social mobility, this survey highlights the true cost of the Government's cuts to education.

"Rather than helping to fund the very courses that people need to realise their potential, the Government is slashing college budgets, putting teachers on the dole queue and removing vital lifelines such as the education maintenance allowance.

"Education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet when it comes to helping people climb the social ladder, yet since this Government took power it has made it much harder for people to have a second chance. It is essential that colleges join with us in opposing these cuts and are not panicked into making short-term changes that will do lasting damage to their local communities."


From Belfast Telegraph