Staff at City College Brighton and Hove, have been shocked and outraged to hear management's plans for redundancies and a 'restructure' (cut) of crucial support services and curriculum departments. To add insult to injury, workers at risk of redundancy were not even given the courtesy of a personal letter. Instead, the news was sent in an email to every staff member.
After protests and packed union meetings, the senior management team (SMT) have claimed the document is for 'consultation'. No one is buying this explanation and the SMT has lost all credibility. People feel that the email was an attempt to sow division and to demoralise staff.
City College is a major provider of vocational education for the many 16-19 year olds in East Sussex who come from areas of educational deprivation. Two-thirds of young people in parts of Brighton and Hove are living in child poverty, compared to 22% nationally.
Many of our students were unable to get on at school. At City College, they can access support for a whole range of issues, academic, emotional, social and practical. This support underpins the learning and is a crucial factor in allowing many young people to stay at college and gain qualifications.
The SMT's attitude, that this support is a non-essential element of the college's work, shows that they are completely out of touch. They have been taken aback by the response of City College staff, many who are determined to fight in defence of our jobs and our students' services.