Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

University closure plan protest

University Staff and students protest
The university's social care department is expected to close

Staff and students from a university's social care department demonstrated outside a meeting expected to confirm plans to shut it in 2011.

The University of Reading has recommended closing its School of Health and Social Care, with the loss of 35 jobs.

Members of its senate attended the meeting on Wednesday.

Sally Hunt from the University and College Union said this was not "a time to cut nurses and social workers".

Concentrating resources

She added: "This country needs nurses, this country needs social workers and it certainly needs counsellors at a time when many people are losing their jobs.

"This is a time to be very proud of the students and the staff that this department is producing not to cut them."

Earlier this month, the BBC learned from the union that university staff were fearful for their jobs following the decision to close the department.

The union said members also feared cuts throughout the university.

The university, which blames financial pressure for the move, said it could not rule out further job losses but maintained they were a last resort.

It said closing the department was part of a move to concentrate resources on areas of academic strength.

The university - like others in England - gets most its funding from research.

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