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College survey highlights need for immediate government help

17 July 2020 | last updated: 24 July 2020

The government needs to step in with immediate help for colleges to save jobs and ensure students can access equipment and free college meals over the summer, said UCU.

The union was responding to a survey from the Association of Colleges that warned almost half of colleges said they planned to make redundancies by the end of the calendar year. Tes also reported that three out of four colleges said they would need additional resources to fund free college meal vouchers for current eligible students over the summer.

Last week the education secretary gave a speech about the importance of further education and his plans for an autumn white paper. UCU said the survey highlighted the need for immediate help for colleges.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The government talked about the important role further education has to play in educating more people, yet colleges are warning now that redundancies are on the cards at the start of the new academic year. An autumn white paper is not going to deal with the immediate problems of people losing their jobs. The government has to come in and support colleges to maintain the capacity we have now if we are to have any chance of expanding it in the future.

'The education secretary last week talked up plans for further education, but gave no details of what that would entail. What is absolutely clear is that the sector needs support right now. Further education has suffered more than any other area of education under a decade of Conservative rule and this report brutally exposes what the impact of successive governments' neglect has delivered.

'Student hardship is up, colleges are unable to provide the equipment students need to access learning and many will struggle to provide free college meal vouchers over the summer. Ministers can reach for platitudes and promises to do more for further education, but the sector needs more than words right now.'

 

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