Hundreds turn out to protest against cuts at Hackney Community College

Around 300 students and staff from Hackney Community College took part in a march on Saturday, in protest at plans to axe 55 jobs there.

The college in Falkirk Street is proposing the job losses as part of �2million of budget cuts, after the government slashed further education funding.

The college is currently consulting with trades unions and staff over the proposals, but unions have blasted the plan for job redundancies when youth unemployment is at an all-time high.

Some courses which help the long-term unemployed gain skills to find a job are among those under threat.

Rose Veitch, vice chairman of HCC University and College Union (UCU) trade union branch, said the march from the college to Hackney Town Hall in Mare Street was well attended, and many local people had expressed concern about the cuts.

“The best way to combat deprivation and alienation is through high quality education, we will defend every course and every job,” she said.

“Our point is that we want our senior management team to campaign seriously for extra funding, rather than implement the government cuts.

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“The people of Hackney deserve proper and diverse educational opportunities, especially in this time of economic crisis - we need to grow, not cut our way out of this,” she added.

College principal Ian Ashman said the consultation process had ended, and they would be responding positively to some of the proposals from staff and the community.

“The number of compulsory redundancies looks to be significantly fewer than our first estimates, mainly because of voluntary severance,” he said.

“Furthermore, we have made a commitment to retain the current volume of places for 16-18 year-old students.

“We will also retain the vast majority of our courses for adults and young people and look forward to supporting over 7,000 people to achieve their qualifications with us next year.”

The college is currently the training venue to prepare 70,000 Olympic volunteers –known as Games makers.