SUSSEX Coast College faces another challenge after the new principal confirmed 50 staff could potentially be at risk of redundancy.
Just a few weeks after Clive Cooke was given the thumbs-up from Ofsted inspectors in its latest monitoring report, the college has entered a consultation process with staff.
Mr Cooke said cuts in government funding had affected the college and he was now trying to identify ways to reduce expenditure.
The move comes just weeks into Mr Cooke’s tenure and only a few months after the college was given a damning OFSTED report with an ‘inadequate’ rating.
Previous principal Janak Patel resigned his position after just a year in charge of the £100m complex in Station Plaza which accommodates 5,000 students and 500 staff.
A statement from Mr Cooke said: “In common with all public sector organisations, Sussex Coast College has received a reduction in government funding.
“These reductions are expected and have affected colleges and other publicly funded organisations across the country.
“SCC has been working to identify ways of reducing expenditure whilst maintaining high standards in teaching and learning.
“A proposal to reduce college staffing is an inevitable measure which has resulted in approximately 50 posts being potentially at risk of redundancy.
“The proposals are, of course, difficult for those colleagues affected.
“The college is now entering a consultation period, during which staff are actively invited to provide feedback and to offer alternative ideas to those being proposed.
“Colleagues affected by the proposals will have access to on-going support, including one-to-one sessions and counselling.
“The college continues to develop efficient and intelligent ways of working across the organisation to ensure SCC delivers excellent front-line service to all our students.”
Dr Julian Freeman, branch representative for the University and College Union said Mr Cooke’s statement had been rejected and he would be working hard to avoid any redundancies.
Dr Freeman said: “The Principal’s statement has been formally rejected. This year has been extremely successful in solving national issues through sustained discussion.
“Talks with the college’s senior management are very much alive and are continuing.
“There is a general belief amongst curriculum staff that the management proposals as originally presented are not wholly practicable.
“UCU will be working hard on behalf of its members to arrive at the best outcome possible in particular to try to avert the possibility of compulsory redundancies.”