SIXTY-NINE jobs are going at the York-based Higher Education Academy, following Government funding cutbacks.

The academy, based at the York Science Park at Heslington, is set to lose its funding council money by 2017.

Now chief executive Stephanie Marshall has revealed plans to slim down the organisation as well as try to increase overseas income.

Of the 180 staff - about half of whom are based in York - no more than three are being made compulsorily redundant and 66 are taking voluntary redundancy, said director of services Dr Mark Jones.

The employees, who are a mixture of academics and clerical workers, have been offered enhanced redundancy terms and help with re-deployment to other organisations, and will all be gone by next month, he said.

Dr Jones said the academy's grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which currently came to about £8 million and accounted for about 60-65 per cent of its overall income, was being phased out by 2017 because of Government funding cutbacks to the council. Similar cuts were expected to grants from the council's equivalents for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Now efforts to attract international subscribers and consultancy income would be stepped up and the academy's work would be reduced.

Professor Marshal said it would organise fewer teaching conferences and staff training workshop, and commission less research, as it concentrates on just four priority areas with a demonstrable impact on individuals and institutions.

These are:

  • Improving curriculum design
  • promoting student engagement
  • exploring how to recruit more socially disadvantaged students
  • promoting teaching excellence through the HEA’s awards

Professor Marshall said the academy would be focusing on what the sector needed help with, and avoid getting sidetracked into other areas.

The £2 million, purpose-built academy was opened in 2005 by Bill Rammell, the minister for life-long learning, further and higher education, with a mission to help universities, colleges and their staff to provide the best possible learning experience for students.

It resulted from a merger between three higher education organisations, the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, the Learning and Teaching Support Network, and the National Coordination Team.

York was chosen for the HQ because it was equidistant between London and Edinburgh and easily accessible for people across the UK.