College staff given option to go or fight for top roles

Union members protested earlier this month against teaching cuts
Union members protested earlier this month against teaching cuts
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BOSSES at the city’s new “super college” have been offered the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy as it seeks to implement a 60 per cent reduction in management roles.

Forty members of the senior management and executive team within the recently merged Edinburgh College – comprising Stevenson, Telford and Jewel & Esk colleges – have been invited to apply for six new senior roles.

These include four vice-principal positions as well as new roles for a director of finance and a director of communications and organisational development. As well as being invited to apply for the new positions, formal consultation has begun in which bosses have been given the option to apply for a voluntary severance package.

A second management tier, known as the Leadership Team, will also be put in place by January, though feedback is still being sought before deciding on the numbers involved in the team. It is not known at this stage how many voluntary redundancies will be accepted at the college.

College principal Mandy Exley said: “This is a very important step for us as a new college. We have set out clear values and all members of the new executive will be expected to lead by example. In fact, it was set out as a major milestone to get the new management structure in place by Christmas, which is a very tight timeline.” The four new vice principal posts will cover the main campuses of the college, which was created on October 1, in 
Midlothian, Sighthill, Milton Road and Granton.

Board members have reiterated their commitment to a policy of no compulsory redundancies until July 2014.

A spokesman for the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest education union, said it hopes the management shake-up benefits the 35,000 students enrolled.

He said: “The EIS believes that all college restructuring should be based on sound educational grounds, with the intention of ensuring a quality learning and teaching experience for all students.

“The main focus must remain meeting the needs of each of the communities concerned, and supporting 
quality front-line education provision at each site following the restructuring process.”

Ms Exley, who was previously principal of Jewel & Esk College, said the current management and executive team should be “very proud” of the role they have played in delivering the new college.

The Evening News revealed earlier this month how the merger is set to cost £17.6 million, breaking the £15m budget given by the Scottish Government for college mergers across Scotland.

Official documents show around £10m is to be spent on severance packages to reduce staff numbers in a bid to make the institution viable.

In addition to a 60 per cent reduction in management roles, the merger will also give rise to a 17.5 per cent cut in teaching and support roles, with the equivalent of 240 full-time posts being lost by 2014.