College faces deep cuts

London Journalism Centre

By Josh Platman

Hackney Community College is facing drastic cuts to its services following the withdrawal of government funding, with the management seeking to cut 55 jobs and close 9% of programmes currently offered.

The sweeping changes would lead to the loss of all art courses, all access to higher education courses, Humanities A-levels, level 2 literacy classes and a host of courses in health and social care at the campus on Falkirk Street, Hoxton.

Elaine Heffernan from the University College Union campaign committee says: ‘The UCU are determined to fight these changes which signal an intention from this government to limit education for our deprived community, to reduce educational opportunity, and to narrow functional skills for low paid employment for underprivileged people in areas like ours.’

The college is situated in one of the boroughs worst affected by last summer’s riots. Many of those who took part in the disorder had struggled with mainstream education or had learning difficulties in what is one of London’s poorest boroughs. On this Heffernan added: ‘the link between a lack of educational opportunity and deprivation is well known. Last year’s riots showed the need for massive investment in our community, especially in education.’

If the changes go ahead, a reduction in student numbers could also lead to local businesses being adversely affected. Abdul Malik, who runs a newsagent on nearby Hoxton Street, says: ‘the students that come into my shop during the week provide a lifeline for me. With less of them I would be struggling at the moment, so cuts would be very damaging.’

A protest rally will be taking place on Saturday 26th May at noon at the college to highlight the issue.

No one from the college committee was available for comment.