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Cambridge FE lecturers to strike over A-level closures

12 June 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

Lecturers at Cambridge Regional College will tomorrow (Tuesday 13 June) strike for the day in protest over the closures of A-level and AS courses.

From Wednesday (14 June), members of the University and College Union at the college will then begin action short of a strike which means they will work strictly to contract and will not cover for absent colleagues, until further notice.

The lecturers will be joined on the picket line by students who are equally angered by the closures and the way in the college has handled them.

The college took the decision to close the courses without consulting UCU (then NATFHE - The University & College Lecturers' Union) - it was informed on the same day that students were sent a letter outlining the proposals.

Lecturers were also outraged that the closures would come into effect at this end of this term which meant that students halfway through two-year programmes would have to go elsewhere to do their second year. The college said local sixth form colleges would take them but UCU members say there has been no guarantee that students will secure a place and that students will be interviewed and sit tests.

Staff were told the courses closures are in line with the Government's plans for the future of further education, as outlined in a major review of colleges done last year by Sir Andrew Foster. That review called for colleges to make vocational training their primary purpose.

Reza Assadi, UCU branch chair at Cambridge Regional College, said: 'We have decided to take drastic action because this important decision was taken without any consultation with the trade unions. It has caused a lot of stress for our members and could harm our students' futures.

'We believe those students currently in their first year of A-level courses should have been allowed to stay at this college to complete their second year. We know that most of our students didn't want to go to sixth form colleges - that's why they came here in the first place. This decision reduces peoples' options and will undoubtedly deter some of our older students from taking A-level courses in the future.'

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