More jobs to go at Sunderland College

Sunderland College's new city centre campus.
Sunderland College's new city centre campus.

More jobs are set to go at Sunderland College.

The University and College Union (UCU) told the Echo that 68 staff could be affected and more than 20 posts could go.

At a time when teaching staff should be concentrating on last minute preparation with students for their exams, being told you have no future at Sunderland College does not motivate you.

Jon Bryan

The College said a “small percentage” of its 600-strong workforce would be affected by a review, citing a fall in the city’s 16-18 population as a key factor.

UCU officials said there is increasing concern because the college is in the process of merging with Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

The news comes after more than 40 posts were lost last year.

Jon Bryan, the UCU’s regional support official, said: “Staff are understandably anxious about their future, having been told once again that there are a large number of posts at the college that are being cut.

“At a time when teaching staff should be concentrating on last minute preparation with students for their exams, being told you have no future at Sunderland College does not motivate you.

“UCU will be continuing to try and work with the college to avert compulsory redundancies and we will make proposals and representations to that affect.

“Staff who are ‘at risk’ are unconvinced by the business necessity of the cuts and are concerned about the educational impact of the changes, as well as being worried for their own livelihoods.

“It is disappointing that as Sunderland continues its bid to be The Capital City of Culture for 2021, which has excited and inspired staff and students at both the college and university, jobs are going in both the further and higher education sectors.”

The college said it will be undertaking a review across a number of areas of the college, to bring staffing in line with student numbers.

Nigel Harrett, Sunderland College deputy principal and deputy chief executive, said: “Sunderland’s 16-18 population has been in decline for a number of years, and despite the college making headway in attracting students from outside the city, the North East generally has also seen a reduced population of young people, meaning ever-increasing competition.

“This impacts on the level of resource needed, and all colleges across the region have had to take tough decisions to align staff to student-count. Redundancy processes are a very difficult, but unfortunately unavoidable, consequence of the demographic change we have seen in the city, and we appreciate just how hard this is for our team, particularly those directly affected by the review.

“We will work closely with all those staff affected to offer advice and guidance throughout the consultation process, with briefings already underway. We are also meeting with the trade unions and we will continue to work closely with them throughout the process.

“This is a challenging time for the college team, but we remain fully committed to delivering the highest standard of education for all our learners.”

A consultation process started last week, with all those affected by the changes being informed in person.

It is expected that the process will conclude over the next month.