1. ITV Report

K College staff on strike

Protesters march into K College in Tonbridge Photo: ITV Meridian

Teachers in the United College Union and the NUT marched on the main campus of K-College in Tonbridge this afternoon.

It also has sites in Tunbridge Wells, Ashford, Dover, and Folkestone. But it's millions of pounds in debt, staff are under threat of redundancy and the Folkestone site could be sold off. All wrong, say the unions.

"We are being driven by financial decisions rather than educational ones and external forces are driving these cuts which will affect the long-term viability of the college and education in the area." says lecturer and local UCU rep Simon Bailey.

Protesters here say there is no economic or educational justification for cuts of this magnitude, and they're calling on the Governors to halt to all decisions until staff, students and the wider community have been fully consulted.

Campaigner Lynne Beaumont says: "The impact on Folkestone to remove K College will be enormous and those young people will not have a lifeline and I'm here fighting for them."

The College says only a small number of its eleven-hundred staff went on strike this afternoon and that they've made plenty of savings without compulsory redundancies. They say the College will be back in the black in two years and will still offer further education in Shepway:-

"We always consult with the community" insists Chair of the Governors, Laura Ellis, "and one of the things we're doing is looking at how provision can continue to be provided right across those five towns. It's not about property, it's about the experience we can deliver for learners right across the five towns that we serve and we want to make that as good as it ever has been if not better."

But the protestors claim an eleven-million pound deficit is the result of management incompetence and are calling for heads to roll.

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