Courses axed at troubled Waltham

27th April 2001 at 01:00
FULL-time A-level and GCSE courses are to be axed at financially-troubled Waltham Forest College.

The college is reorganising to protect "front-line services", as it prepares to pay back a pound;1.1 million debt to the Learning and Skills Council as a result of changes in franchising arrangements and student numbers being lower than estimated.

Statutory redundancy notices have been issued warning 70 jobs could go. But principal Carol Gibson hopes the actual number will be lower and redundancies will be voluntary.

"In future, people wanting to take part in full-time A-level and GCSE courses will be referred to two neighbouring sixth-form colleges which are working very closely with us. Interestingly though, with the introduction of curriculum 2000, and other changes, our overall A-level provision will increase despite the ending of full-time provision."

She says union fears that lecturers would have to re-apply for their own jobs are nt justified, although, if posts are cut, staff will be offered the chance to take new positions which result from restructuring.

In another dispute, at Redbridge College, staff fear for their jobs as a result of management mistakes, say lecturers' union NATFHE.

"The current down-sizing, restructuring and cuts package is being driven by a budget deficit. This can only reasonably be explained by past management mistakes," said NATFHE chairman Tony Sullivan.

NATFHE staged a one-day pay strike at the college on Tuesday, when it was due for an inspection.

The union claims 25 per cent of full-time academic staff have resigned in the past six months and lecturers have passed a vote of no confidence in the principal.

The union began balloting in 280 colleges on Wednesday over a demand for a pound;3,000 pay rise for all lecturers. If they vote in favour of action, a one-day strike is destined to take place nationally on May 22.


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