Staff and students in Harrogate College protest

Staff and students protest over cuts at at Harrogate College

3:04pm 20th March 2018

Staff and students have been protesting outside Harrogate College today.

They're warning about the impact of cuts and have called on bosses at the Hull College Group to sit down with unions to find a way forward.

The Group, which runs colleges in Harrogate, Hull and Goole, recently announced restructuring plans to shed 231 posts across the three sites.

Johnathan Lang, a member of staff, said:

"We want to raise awareness of the cuts that are happening within the Hull College Group and specifically within Harrogate College

"Staff's concerns are about the state of the college after the cuts and how we can save the community within the college, especially for our students."

Protestors waved banners with the words 'Stop the cuts' and 'We Love Harrogate College'.

Students Chloe and Hannah joined the demonstration. They said:

"Staff aren't just a number, they help us with our future.

"They're the most important people at the moment to guide us through our lives."

However, in a statement, the Hull College Group said:

"The group announced in March that the proposed restructure of the sites in Hull, Goole and Harrogate would affect approximately 231 full time equivalent posts, made up of around 181 in Hull, 11 in Goole and 39 in Harrogate.

"However, this restructure is still in the proposal stage and we have entered a full consultation with staff and trade unions, so it would be inappropriate to discuss these further at this point.

"We want our learners to have the best possible experience and in order to achieve this success, some difficult decisions have to be made. We need to change the way we do things which is why the Hull College Group team has been looking at new ways of working.

"Anyone who is affected by proposed redundancy will be offered our full-support and guidance throughout this process, including interview training and counselling. We are also working with major stakeholders to look at redeployment opportunities for our staff.

"All staff have been kept fully up to date with every stage of this process since the release of the FE Commissioners report in February, and continue to be during the consultation process, so it is disheartening to witness the actions of some members of staff and students on our Harrogate site today.

"We understand many members of staff are going through an incredibly tough time and we fully recognise their right to strike, however, today’s actions were taken independently and the appropriate motions to strike were not followed. We encourage staff to continue discussions with trade unions whenever possible to ensure a clear and open forum for discussion."

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