Tower Hamlets College joins forces with Newham and Redbridge to fight £3m cuts

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 April 2015

Tower Hamlets College principal Jerry McDonald [inset] fighting £4m cuts

Tower Hamlets College principal Jerry McDonald [inset] fighting £4m cuts


Three adult education colleges in east London face a shock £3 million in cuts in the next academic year, it has emerged.

Tutors and students leave Tower Hamlets College for Budget Day lobby of MPs over cuts to Further EducationTutors and students leave Tower Hamlets College for Budget Day lobby of MPs over cuts to Further Education

Tower Hamlets College alone faces losing £1m, while Newham College is having £1.5m axed and Redbridge is getting £0.5m less.

Now all three colleges are in talks to set up a “federation” to create a stronger voice to lobby the government after the general election.

The colleges have 30,000 students enrolled, including 24,000 adult learners over 19.

They employ 1,366 tutors and administration staff between them.

“We can’t rule out staff redundancies,” Tower Hamlets College Principal Jerry McDonald admitted to the East London Advertiser.

“But we’ll do all we can to avoid them—we need a stronger voice to protect adult education in east London.

“The prime reason for setting up a federation is to create that stronger voice.”

Mr McDonald addressed MPs during a Budget Day lobby at Westminster by college tutors and students last month.

Hundreds took part from all over London protesting at 24 per cent cuts to adult Further Education colleges.

The campaigners also held a protest rally in Westminster on March 25 and handed in a petition to 10 Downing Street with 16,000 names calling on the Prime Minister to reverse the cuts that campaigners say “will devastate adult education”.

Courses for students aged 16 to 18 at Tower Hamlets are unaffected by fund axing.

“That would be hotly contentious before a general election,” Mr McDonald observed.

“But it’s adult Further Education that’s going to suffer with a 14pc budget cut at our college. We expect to lose £1m funding next year.”

The tripartite federation of three colleges is being set up by August 1, constituted to collaborate on services and projects. The three college administrations will work together to manage next year’s £82m finances. This includes £21m for Tower Hamlets for 2016, which adds up to accumulated annual losses totalling £4m since 2010.

The ‘federation’ is intended to work “in the interests of students and college employers” who are facing “an unprecedented level of financial cuts”. Its aim is to protect front-line services for adults learning skills for new employment opportunities in east London.

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