UNISON cuts survey reveals where axe will fall in Further & Higher Education

Three quarters of further and higher education staff say that cuts to college and university funding will lead to course closures, according to a shocking UNISON survey, released on 21 June.

On the day that staff and students are held nationwide protests against cuts, the union released a list of courses that have already been cut or are facing cuts, including social work, languages, pharmacy, counselling, science, geography, deaf studies, beauty, sports, IT, media, Islamic studies and philosophy. 

Staff have seen students turned away from a number of colleges and universities - with 60 per cent of respondents seeing a huge reduction in vocational training. The results also reveal that thousands of support staff and teaching staff jobs will be axed, with morale among all workers hitting rock bottom. 

The union has hit back against the cuts saying they will strike communities hard and are particularly tough for workers made redundant during the recession who need to re-train, young people facing high unemployment and learners with support needs. The demonstrations over funding cuts, which will lead to thousands of job losses, have been organised jointly by UNISON, the National Union of Students (NUS), UNITE, the University and College Union (UCU), GMB, the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). 

Dave Prentis, UNISON's General Secretary, said:

"It is shocking news for students that three quarters of staff are reporting course closures.The country cannot afford to become a low skill, low wage economy - we must invest in our future and that means investing in further and higher education.

"The education system is in danger of descending into chaos, as students are turned away from courses, vocational training is put on the backburner and thousands of staff join the record number of unemployed on the dole queues. Now is not the time for the government to cut spending in education.We need to get the economy back on track, help struggling local communities and avoid a double-dip recession.

Commenting on the survey findings, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt,said:"Cuts have consequences and will do lasting damage to front-line provision. This survey should act as an urgent wake-up call to government. Slashing education budgets will make it harder for people to retrain during the recession and will have a devastating impact on many communities throughout the country."