Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:00 UK

College jobs threatened by 'cuts'

Yale College
The college teaches more than 13,000 students

Nearly 50 jobs are under threat at a Wrexham college after what it calls a cut in funding.

Officials at Yale College have begun talks with staff and unions following a "challenging" funding settlement from the Welsh Assembly Government.

A college spokeswoman said Yale had received the same funding as last year - £17.2m - which is £1.2m less than it had been expecting.

The assembly government said it had had to make "dificult choices".

The college spokeswoman said: "Yale College has been allocated £17.2m funding by the Welsh Assembly Government for the year 2009-2010.

"This is identical to the funding received in 2008-2009, but represents a shortfall of £1.2m against a projected figure of £18.4m, which had been indicated by the Welsh Assembly Government in its April 2008 funding letter.

"This would have taken account of the college's growth of over 6% in 16-18 year olds."

'Mission'

On Wednesday, staff were being told that 49 posts are at risk.

College principal Paul Croke said: "The college has a mission to protect its core curriculum and meet the needs of learners.

"This will be at the forefront of discussions and should enable the vast majority of courses to continue as normal in the new academic year."

The college teaches 3,500 full-time pupils aged between 16 and 18, as well as 10,000 part-time adults.

In July 2008, local AM Lesley Griffiths said the college's grant funding had been frozen at £17.238m, claiming it could have a negative impact on the town and its students.

At the time, the college confirmed it was already looking to make cuts and had offered voluntary redundancy to 23 managers.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokeswoman said the college had received £180,000 of additional funding announced last week as part of an £8.9m package to support education institutions in the economic downturn.

She said: "A difficult budget settlement this year has meant having to make difficult choices and the assembly government has worked closely with the sector to provide as much assistance as possible in what have been and continue to be challenging times."

The spokeswoman added that the sector's concerns had been listened to and the assembly government had acted swiftly and positively.

Aled Roberts, leader of Wrexham council, said he met the announcement with "astonishment".

He said neither of the authority's two sixth forms had received any of the £8.9m funding boost, adding: "Whilst Wrexham council is doing all it can to target education, our efforts are being undermined by incompetent funding mechanisms devised in Cardiff."



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