K College possible redundancies increase 'up to 168'

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The number of potential redundancies at a college in Kent has increased in a new restructuring plan.

K College said it aimed to make no more than 168 staff redundant together with any approved voluntary redundancies as it tackles its £6.4m operating deficit.

The latest restructuring plan replaces the one announced in the summer, which outlined 145 possible redundancies.

The consultation period on potential redundancies has been extended, in a move welcomed by a union official.

Falling student numbers

K College said it had submitted a financial plan to the Skills Funding Agency to ensure long-term financial stability and necessary developments of further education courses.

It has blamed the deficit on falling student numbers, funding cuts from central government, the cost of running six sites and a delay in money owed from the sale of land.

Michael Moran of the University and College Union (UCU), said: " We are disappointed but also glad that the consultation has been extended further so it won't end in January."

He said the union was still in dispute with the college but wanted to focus on helping it get the right funding in place.

Mr Moran added: "We want K College to still exist and provide a first education to the people of Kent."

The college, which has campuses in Folkestone, Dover, Ashford, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, has nearly 15,000 students and a total of 1,100 staff.

On 8 October, staff from the college held a half-day strike in protest at the job cuts, with 150 demonstrating outside the Tonbridge campus.

Outgoing principal Bill Fearon said: "The college continues to focus hard on its priorities which are to provide students with the best possible experiences and to succeed in their qualification or skills training."

Mr Fearon resigned at the start of October and plans to leave at Christmas.

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