EXPECTED job losses at West Somerset College have been blamed on a decreasing birth rate and an expected reduction to funding.

A statement from the College says that despite planning and action in place to limit the impact, it has been necessary to ‘invoke the redundancy procedure for a number of staff groups including teachers and support staff.”

The College received details of its funding for September 2014/15 at the end of March.

They are facing a shortfall of £700,000 with more than £500,000 of that relating to a pre-16 funding and £200,000 relating to post-16 students.

Both the drops in funding are as a direct result of changes to funding formulas at a national level.

A spokesperson for the college said: “It is the intention to avoid compulsory redundancy wherever possible and we are working with all staff to identify areas of savings to prevent the loss of staff roles.

“Providing the best quality teaching and learning is the priority for the College, and whilst any reduction in staffing is challenging, there are also significant opportunities to improve the experience and support provided to the students and teachers at this time.”

The college said the plan to respond to declining student numbers had been in place for a number of years, but the impact of the change in funding formula was worse than expected, resulting in more immediate in-year action.

One parent who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The principal, director of finance and the board of governors should bear some responsibility for the current situation.

“They must have been aware of the situation, how can they have allowed it to occur?

“As a former student and the mother of a child at the school, I am concerned.”