Friday, 18 October 2013

Four Years of Failure

Four Years of Failure

We need to be clear on one fact: College staff are expected to take the hit for senior management failure. Four clear years of failure - failure of imagination, failure of leadership, failure to simply do their jobs (unless their remit is to destroy this college). There is a long list of examples of these failures which will form one basis of our resistance to the coming attacks; however, the upshot of it all is simple.

Richmond-upon-Thames College needs a radical change of management direction.  In fact, Richmond-upon-Thames College needs a change of management team.

David Ansell came to a college which had been graded 2 by Ofsted; a college with a strong reputation for teaching, learning and results; a college which sent more students into higher education than any other single institution in the country. Now look at us: graded 3, falling grades, falling numbers, falling income.

David Ansell came to a college that was, apparently, in some financial difficulty. He set out to change that, and he did. This is now a college in severe financial difficulty.

Four years of failure.

Four years, in fact, of outright destructive failure. There is only one strategy that this senior management team have – to cut, cut, cut. Not a single strategy to make money or to find and open up new income streams; or certainly nothing remotely successful.  

Instead there have been mass redundancies, increased workloads, reduced provision, cuts to pay, cuts to holidays, change after change after change to the management structure – and where have we ended up?

Massive deficit. Crisis.

And what is their response to this crisis?

The same failed strategies, but more so.

Isn’t one definition of madness doing the same thing and expecting a different result?

In the last dispute UCU members fought the management’s proposals, and fought them hard; but we also presented proposals and compromises all along the line – which were rejected out of hand until we went on strike (at which point the senior management claimed the compromise proposals were their own).

In the end, though, those compromises just meant that we still went along the road that has lead us here slightly more slowly. It’s clear now that it was in entirely the wrong direction.

There is no room for compromise any more. More cuts will most likely kill the college; this is beyond jobs and conditions, as vitally important for all of us as they may be.  We need another way. This management are incapable of finding one.


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