The University and College Union (@UCU) today (Thursday) slammed SK College Group – which runs St Helens College and Knowsley Community College - for its plans to axe 22 staff from a pool of 76 teachers it has put at risk of redundancy. The plans are the fourth round of redundancies in just 12 months.

The plans would mean almost one in ten (8.8%) teachers across the college would go, including in accounting, science, engineering and sport. They would also see over half the teachers in computing sacked. The college says it is making the cuts to “maximise efficiency” and create 11 “progress coaches”.

The college’s mission statement says it aims to make sure “each individual is respected, valued and safeguarded as part of an enjoyable, supportive and caring learning and working environment”. It also says it wants to ensure students are well prepared for “work in Britain today”.

The union said a fourth set of job cuts in less than 12 months threatened to cause serious damage to students and to educational opportunities across the region. It said if managers want to live up to the college’s professed vision then they need to immediately halt these cuts and concentrate on supporting staff, and creating a caring learning and working environment. UCU’s members are meeting on Tuesday 29 June to decide how to fight this latest round of job cuts.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: ‘Putting a further 76 teachers at risk of redundancy after already sacking staff in three sets of redundancies this year points to a failure of management. The college says it wants to create a caring learning and working environment, but getting rid of expert teachers doesn’t sound like a good way to improve learning. The college says it wants to support students into good jobs at the same time as halving provision in essential skills like computing. Management appear to have no strategy other than sacking more and more staff.

‘The college needs to immediately reverse these plans and work with UCU to build a proper strategy to protect jobs and create a caring learning environment. If it refuses to so, staff are determined to fight these cuts."

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