THE PRINCIPAL of Warwickshire College has insisted students’ education will not be compromised – despite being forced to make at least £3million in savings.
The college, which currently has sites in Leamington, Rugby, Warwick, Henley, Moreton Morrell and Pershore, experienced unprecedented growth in its student numbers this year.
But since 2010, it has seen around £10.6million in Government funding slashed – the tipping point of which came when an expected windfall of £1.6million was reduced to just £600,000 recently.
And a further £1million earmarked for previously funded adult courses has also been withdrawn by Westminster.
Warwickshire College’s principal and CEO, Mariane Cavalli outlined the news in a series of staff meetings last week.
But while she admitted the cuts would result in “inevitable and unavoidable” job losses at the college, which employs more than 1,700 staff, she insisted its main priority would continue to be the welfare of its 20,000 students.
She said: “These cuts to our funding were unexpected and only confirmed in the last three weeks giving us no choice but to make very difficult decisions to balance the books next year.
“The stark reality is over the last few years we have continued to deliver the services and support for which we were previously funded. We have done this because those services were valued but we can no longer afford to subsidise them.
“The employers and business partners with whom we work will understand we have had to make some rapid and difficult choices in order for us to maintain our financial viability and continue to be able to serve our communities.”
And despite the cuts, Ms Cavalli remains optimistic some of the savings will help fund a “major growth strategy” for the college, which was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted at its latest inspection.
She added: “We are confident in remodelling those services to reduce costs, we will be able to maintain the quality of our provision.
“We will continue to develop our outstanding provision for 16-18 year old students, as well as being able to offer an even broader range of apprenticeships in partnerships with local, regional and national employers.
“We will also grow the number of Higher Education courses we offer, where we are already seeing unprecedented demand and will continue to invest in our offer for international students.”