Socialist Worker

Riverside College occupation against cuts

by Ronnie Williams
Issue No. 2041

Over fifty sixth form students at Riverside College in Runcorn, Cheshire, reacted against the removal of IT facilities from the college and the atmosphere of secrecy in which the ill-disguised asset strip was carried out.

With just weeks before AS and A-level examinations, computers from the former Runcorn Sixth Form building were to be removed, apparently to be installed next door in the former Halton College building.

The two colleges were forced into an amalgamation by the local Labour-run authority last summer – against the wishes of staff, pupils, parents and the local community.

This comes against a background of enforced school closures and amalgamations in Halton (Runcorn and Widnes) over the last six years.

As with most of those amalgamations, the new Riverside College has been less than successful.

Students circulated a petition against the removal of the IT equipment on Thursday of last week, when the news first broke.

The following morning – when the computers were due to be taken away – a spontaneous protest took place by a small number of students in the IT suite from which the equipment was being removed.

The protest quickly escalated with more and more students joining and a barricade was constructed out of chairs.

Students have agreed to hold discussions at a later date between senior members of staff and individual tutor groups.

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Article information

Sat 10 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2041
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