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On course for college chaos

PUBLISHED: 17:08 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:51 24 August 2010

Willesden college site

Willesden college site

COLLEGE chiefs have been accused of cheating students after they axed half the tutors on a foundation course just weeks after it began. Bosses at the College of North West London (CNWL) have come under attack after they slashed 21 posts resulting in u

COLLEGE chiefs have been accused of cheating students after they axed half the tutors on a foundation course just weeks after it began.

Bosses at the College of North West London (CNWL) have come under attack after they slashed 21 posts resulting in uncertainty for the affected scholars.

Students on the access to social care and psychology have been left in limbo after returning to their desk on Monday and discovering none of their tutors had turned up for work.

It was only when the Times intervened that it was revealed that two out of the four lecturers had been given the boot.

The foundation course, which prepares mature students for university, can cost individuals up to £4,500.

But, CNWL which has campuses in Dudden Hill Lane, Willesden, Wembley, Priory Park Road, Kilburn and North End Road and Wembley Park Drive, both in Wembley, has had to embark on a £1.2million cost cutting exercise after the Government slashed funding for adult courses.

Ruby Elabd, who is studying on the access course, has been at the forefront of calls for the college to be more transparent about its plans since the redundancies rumours arose last Autumn.

She said: "There's a feeling here that they (CNWL) don't care about us.

"They have got the money for the course and that's all that matters.

"Its absolute chaos here and the uncertainty is affecting us all."

Since the threat of redundancies reared its ugly head, Miss Elabd claims a group letter she sent to a college boss asking for reassurances had gone unanswered.

But when the Times contacted CNWL on Monday a spokeswoman admitted that 21 posts had been axed including two tutors from Ms Elabd's course.

A furious Ms Elabd said: "I feel like we've been cheated because this all about money. "Our learning has been heavily effected by all this.

"There needs to be a change in the law that stops colleges getting rid of teachers in the middle of a course."

Indro Sen, secretary for the north west London branch of the University and College Union agreed with miss Elabd.

He said: "We are very concerned about this and we have raised this issue many times.

"If the redundancies were in June or July then it won't have affected the students but because of the timing it well have an effect on more than 300 students from various areas."

In a further twist, Mr Sen claims CNWL had the opportunities to keep any disruption to a minimum but ignored the chance.

He said: "They (CNWL) will still have to pay someone on an hourly rate to teach so why don't they re-employ the tutors.

"That would solve a lot of the problems so I can't see why they won't do this.

"I have spoken to the lecturers who are quite happy to continue teaching until the end of the course so I am planning to write to the college urging them to bring them back on an hour basis until the course is finished because the funding is there."

A CNWL spokeswoman told the Times the effect of the job losses on front line service including teaching had been minimal and no courses had been closed.

She added: "Where there has, unfortunately, been an impact, students have been kept informed at all stages and their concerns responded to.

"In the case of the Access course referred to, the Head of Faculty met with the students on the course in December. All classes are being delivered to this group of students and they are not missing any learning.

"It is true that some of the current teachers covering the classes will be temporary until we find sessional staff for about five hours - but they are not having any classes uncovered.


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