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Three-fifths of colleges report course closures

26 July 2012

6,000 college jobs lost and two-thirds of colleges see applications drop

Over three-fifths of colleges have cut courses and two-thirds reported a reduction in student enrolments, according to a survey released today. Furthermore, nearly 6,000 college staff lost their jobs between 2010 and 2011.
A survey of 190 colleges shows that 5,737 posts were lost from the further education sector in the 2010-11 academic year. The figures, obtained by UNISON under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that over three-fifths (61%) of colleges axed courses over the same period, ranging from aerospace engineering to part-time courses for adults looking to retrain.
The study shows a considerable fall in college attendances with two-thirds of institutions (67%) reporting a drop in enrolments in the last academic year (2011-12). Colleges cite the abolition of the student grant, the education maintenance allowance (EMA), as the main reason for the drop.
UCU today warned that further job losses and course closures were likely following the introduction of further education loans for older learners.
According to the government's own impact assessment of the controversial policy to make students take out loans to fund their tuition, ministers expect a 45% drop in the number of over-24-year-olds studying at college. More on that issue can be found here: Minister told to come clean over 100,000 lost college places
Key findings from the survey:

  • 5,737 posts were lost from further education in 2010-11
  • 61% of colleges reported closing courses in 2010-11
  • 67% of colleges reported a reduction in student enrolments in 2011-12

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'If this trend of cutting continues quality will inevitably suffer. The further education sector simply cannot continue to be asked to do more for less. Investment in our colleges is essential if we are to kick-start growth in the economy.
'With huge levels of unemployment, and at a time when other countries are investing in producing more highly-skilled workers, we simply cannot afford to be sacking staff and slashing opportunities.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015