Easton and Otley College announces plans to cut the equivalent of 65 full-time jobs

Jane Townsend, principal at Easton and Otley College. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jane Townsend, principal at Easton and Otley College. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Scores of jobs are under threat at the region’s leading agricultural college.

Easton and Otley College has announced plans to reduce its staffing levels by the equivalent of 65 full-time positions as part of “a long term recovery plan”.

Employees were informed of the plans during an all staff meeting last week and a 45-day consultation is now taking place. It is believed both teaching and support positions are under scrutiny among the 630 staff roles at the college.

Parents and guardians of the almost 4,000 students which attend Easton and Otley’s two campuses in Suffolk and Norfolk were informed by letter earlier this week. They were told that “any changes will not come into effect until the end of the academic year therefore classes will continue as normal”.

The announcement follows a challenging nine months at the education provider, as it attempts to turn things around after a damning Ofsted report last July, which rated it as inadequate, a fall from the previous good rating given in 2013.

In August 2017, the then principal David Henley stepped down to be replaced by Jane Townsend who has since served as an interim principal until taking up the role full-time earlier this month.

In a statement Miss Townsend said: “As part of our long term strategy, we need to make some tough but essential decisions to help streamline the business, review the way we work and become more efficient.

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“Some changes to personnel will have to be made and naturally we will be supporting and looking after all of those staff affected by any changes, to help them explore all of the opportunities that are open to them.”

Miss Townsend said any job cuts are part of long-term strategy to make the college more efficient and to create a curriculum that meets the needs of employers.

She added: “We are in advanced talks to open new farming and military academies. These academies will be working directly alongside businesses as part of a detailed recovery plan.”

In the same statement, chair of governors, Mark Pendlington, added: “Like any business, we have to review what we do and find new ways of doing things. Within that, difficult decisions have to be made and we will look after all those who are affected by any changes that occur.

“However, we are confident that the decisions we make are all part of our long term recovery plan that will enable us to strengthen our position and continue our mission of creating a college that is a national leader for the land-based sector.”

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