Leeds City College: Plans to axe support service for vulnerable students would have 'disastrous effect'

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A proposal to axe a support service for vulnerable college students would have a "disastrous effect", a union has insisted.

Leeds City College wants to save around £160,000 in staffing costs, according to Unison, which said the college is currently consulting on redundancies.

The union said that staff at risk of losing their jobs are based in the independent-learning department and provide "crucial one-to-one support", delivering services including help with literacy, digital skills and securing jobs.

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Simon Hulme

It was also insisted that the support has been a lifeline for students, some of whom have learning difficulties or have been learning English as a second language.

Unison said that while the college aims to redeploy staff at risk of redundancies, the service they provide would still disappear.

Brendan Cafferty, the union's regional organiser, said: "A vital service providing crucial support for some of the most vulnerable students at the college would be lost under these proposals.

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"The damage that would cause to current students cannot be overstated. The move could also seriously affect the likelihood of vulnerable students applying to the college in future too. The college must do all it can to avoid cuts."

A spokesperson for Leeds City College said: “While we, and the wider further education sector, are operating within a challenging financial climate, the proposed changes are fundamentally driven by our commitment to enhancing the quality of our student support services.

“We will continue to offer students high standards of support by optimising the activities that benefit them the most such as specialist support, group workshops and focused one-to-ones, while removing the services that are less impactful, in accordance with student feedback.

“We believe that these changes will improve the overall quality of our services and benefit both our students and staff.”

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