Hackney college marches over ‘unfair’ arts cuts: three courses face the axe

Hackney Community College.

Hackney Community College. - Credit: Archant

Staff and students from Hackney Community College will march on Thursday to express their disappointment at “unfair and disproportionate” £2.9m cuts.

The college in Falkirk Street is consulting about the proposed funding cuts which are part of the government’s ongoing deficit reduction strategy, and will be implemented in the forthcoming academic year.

Its three BTEC art and design courses could now face the chop, although it will still offer digital media, fashion and performing arts qualification courses, as well as a strong range of adult part-time arts courses.

Year-on-year reductions have been made since the 2010 election, as a result of the government’s review of public sector funding, with a £4.75m reduction in the funding for adult education in the previous three years.

However principal Ian Ashman, said the cuts this year are “even more significant”.

With a turnover of around £25m, the cut in government funding equates to 20 per cent, although it is less than 12 per cent of the college’s overall budget because of other secure funding sources.

Mr Ashman said: “This funding cut to the further education sector is unfair and disproportionate.

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“Up until now, the range of courses has remained pretty stable, with courses closing only if there was a significant drop in demand, or other external factors. This is the first time that a whole group of courses has been affected.

“In the few cases where courses will not run next year, we have been talking to other local colleges to make sure that there is still a progression route available to all students.”

The marchers will leave HCC at 4pm this Thursday to gather at Broadgate by Liverpool Street station with speakers from students and local arts organisations.

A spokesman for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said: “It is right that as the nation tightens its belt on public spending, the further education sector plays its part in ensuring value for money for taxpayers by finding savings.”