CAMPAIGNERS flocked to the streets to demonstrate against college cuts and academy plans.

Around 100 protesters marched through Brighton yesterday as they rallied against cuts to City College Brighton and Hove and plans to turn Hove Park School into an academy.The demonstrators were fighting to save jobs and courses at the college which has to make £1.5 million worth of savings.

Alex Knutsen, from Unison, which has about 100 members at the college, said the union was pleased with the turnout and it would be balloting for strike action this week.

College staff and students were joined by campaigners who are battling to stop Hove Park School from being turned into an academy.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, also joined the demonstrators. She said: “I was pleased to join Saturday’s march to stand up for City College, and for everyone who works and studies there. I’m proud of all that City College offers, particularly to disadvantaged students, and it’s vital that that work is able to continue and flourish. “I will continue to oppose the Government’s short-sighted and counterproductive cuts to further education, which has seen funding for full-time students slashed by an average of 12%. Good quality education should be an investment priority, and that message needs to ring out loud and clear.”

Lynn Thackway, principal and chief executive of City College, said in a statement ahead of the march on Friday “to do nothing is not an option”. She said: “Although we understand and respect the fact that some members of staff feel strongly and wish to protest against proposed changes to staffing at City College, it needs to be understood that colleges across the country are facing significant cuts to core funding.

“It is in this context that the college is having to make savings of £1.5 million and is going through a staff restructure which is a painful process for everyone involved.

“The board of governors have been instructed by external auditors, our bank and the Skills Funding Agency that a recovery plan needs to be implemented and expect the senior leadership team to deliver this.”