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Jobs losses revealed at special needs Derwen College

By Jonny Drury | Gobowen | Education | Published:

Redundancies are being made at a residential college for students with special needs to make it ‘sustainable for the future’.

Derwen College near Oswestry has around 170 students on site

Derwen College is one of the region’s largest employers, and staff were were recently informed posts would be lost as bosses review the college’s business model.

One of the reasons for the reduction in staff members is due to students not being able to successfully get grant funding to attend the college in Gobowen, near Oswestry.

The college, which was deemed outstanding in its last Ofsted report, has declined to say how many jobs are being lost, although sources claim the numbers are substantial.

It caters for around 170 students on site, with around another 90 on training courses. It also has satellite sites in the region.

Tonia Davies, of the college, insisted changes need to be made to provide the best outcome for students.

She said: “As a college and large employer we need to constantly review our business model to continue to meet the needs of our students and trainees and to fulfil our charitable objectives.

“The national picture continues to change for residential colleges like Derwen and despite continued high demand for residential student places fewer students than ever are successfully gaining funding to come to Derwen.

“This trend is set to continue, therefore, it is essential that we adapt and change our business model to ensure we remain sustainable for the future.

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“A restructure of resources is now essential to get us in shape to move forward, meet the external challenges ahead and continue to provide the best outcomes for students and trainees attending college.

“We are now in a period of consultation to re-shape our current work structures and this will inevitably affect staffing numbers going forward.

“It is with great regret that we will lose staff who are committed to their work here – we have in place a strong support package to help them through this process.

“Our future, streamlined, workforce will provide us with a robust structure to meet the demands of our future provision and to maintain the excellent quality of teaching and care for which we are renowned.”

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In response to changes the college has been working to provide more day placements which has included the launch of three satellite sites based in south Shropshire, Wrexham and Shrewsbury over the last four years.

College bosses are also working closely with local and national employers to give our learners the best chances of employment when they leave Derwen, including opening a three bed Premier Inn training hotel on site in Gobowen last year.

Miss Davies insisted the college greatly valued the supporters who raise funds and those who support the college through its cafe and garden centre.

She added: “We would like to thank our many supporters who help us to raise vital funds through our annual events including our highly successful sponsored walk and upcoming Summer Fete.

“We would also like to thank our loyal customers who come and support the outlets including the café, restaurant, and garden centre.

“By working in our commercial outlets our students learn work-ready and independence skills and this model of learning remains at the heart of our college ethos.”

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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