A six-month review has been commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council and will decide how course provision will be restructured.
Cllr Gareth Epps, LibDem PPC for Reading East, said "This is the clearest sign yet of an ill wind being blown over further and higher education."
Calling for Labour to stop it's counterproductive education cuts, he added that
"The first priority must be to ensure quality sixth form provision for Reading students. Those students intending to go to college in September, in particular, deserve reassurance after TVU's sudden announcement."Professor Peter John, the Vice Chancellor of TVU, responded:
"We want to assure students that our plans for the future of the Reading campus will not impact on their studies. The changes are about the management of courses in the future rather than the courses that will be available. We believe that the needs of all learners, employers and employees in Reading are best served by recreating separate further education provision for the region."But it's not just courses at TVU's Reading campus which are due to be reorganised. Slough will also see changes in a move which is claimed "will be closely aligned to the skills needs of Slough employers," according to TVU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ian Tunbridge.
University managers have signalled their intention to 'minimise the impact on courses and on staff', and it is not expected that there are to be wholesale redundancies as a result.
However this hasn't stopped some from whipping up the spectre of industrial confrontation, despite the declaration that only one FTE teaching job at Reading is effectively redundant.
So it's interesting to read one TVU teacher speaking out on the subject from the sharp end.
The vocational business course remains over-subscribed for the next academic year, but he recognises that the economic situation is causing many young people to think again about staying in education.
He points out that the role of the press is crucial in forming perceptions and makes a sharp criticism of 'sensationalist' headlines which proclaim the impending closure of courses: using public spaces to spread uncertainty is damaging as it could actually drive potential students away.
With confidence in civic institutions on the line the 'fourth estate' must also recognise its responsibility to the public not to sacrifice long-term interests and education for short-term commercial imperatives.