100 jobs to go at City College Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:50 25 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:05 01 July 2010

City College Norwich

City College Norwich

Steve Downes

East Anglia's biggest college has warned of deeper cuts to come as it announced plans to axe more than 100 members of staff as part of a package to save £2.8m.

East Anglia's biggest college has warned of deeper cuts to come as it announced plans to axe more than 100 members of staff as part of a package to save £2.8m.

The 14,800-pupil City College Norwich is facing an estimated shortfall of £6.55m over the next three years as the public sector funding squeeze tightens.

The college will lose 20 teachers, more than 30 managers and a host of administrative staff, while the current nine schools of education will be reduced to six.

But the cuts could be just the beginning, with principal Dick Palmer expecting further government announcements in the next nine months.

He said: “Given our best estimates of the future, we may have to save a further £3.75m over three years. Our annual budget is around £45m. It is an extremely difficult time.”

Mr Palmer said the college “would not shirk its responsibility to make do with less” - and promised that no courses would be cut and course quality would not be affected.

The funding cuts come a few months after the college was forced to cancel its £173m campus redevelopment because the quango, the Learning and Skills Council, and the government could not meet their funding pledges.

They signal an end to the years of plenty under the previous govern-ment as the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition seeks to reduce the nation's debts.

Mr Palmer said the college's managers had seen the cuts coming and had been planning to make savings for six months.

He said: “In March I stated publicly the college's commitment to ensuring that our courses would not be cut and I am pleased that we have been able to honour that pledge.

“The college faces some very testing times in the years ahead, but we owe it to our current and future students to ensure we main-tain a financially healthy organis-ation that will continue providing the workforce of tomorrow with the skills they need.”

Among the proposed savings are a reduction in senior managers from seven to 4.4, and a change in role and reduction in the numbers of programme managers.

The current number of staff is 1,059. If all of the job losses go ahead, that will be reduced by 9.4pc to 959.

Mr Palmer said: “It's really tough. But we have to do this to ensure the college's continued sustainability and financial viability.

“Our fundamental principle was to protect services and students. Other colleges are closing courses, but we are not.

“We can and will maintain the quality of the courses. People's children's places on courses at the college are secure. And we will continue to strive to be an outstanding college, in the top 10 in England.”

He said the government's failure to meet its pledges about rebuild cash meant the college had to find £1.4m a year for five years to keep the existing campus in good shape.

And he added: “The college has gone through a number of modernisation programmes in the last four years. We are a good, progressive and innovative college with our best ever success rates.

“Without continued investment, all that is threatened. We would call on the coalition government to consider the importance of colleges, which can help to get the country out of recession.”

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