News: Bristol jobs lost as Open University to close

Louis Emanuel, September 14, 2015

As many as 60 people could lose their jobs as The Open University shuts its doors in Bristol.

Staff at the offices on Portwall Lane, Redcliffe, were told on Monday that the centre will be closing as part of a major restructuring.

Sources told Bristol24/7 that they were informed at a meeting that the changes are being brought in to create a “better student experience”.

The Open University said it had only told “directly affected” staff so far of its proposals for a new “regional network”.

The company is due to release a full statement Tuesday after all staff members have been informed. It is likely to confirm that seven centres are being restructured into three in Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Manchester.

The closure will mean there will be no South West office, with the nearest centre now in Milton Keynes.

One Bristol member of staff said: “How can students be fully supported with less staff and expertise?”

Some members of staff are represented by the University and College Union, which is also due to release a statement on Tuesday morning.

The restructuring of Open University follows a fall in part-time study which has led to a loss of more than a quarter of total students over the past five years and run up a £17 million deficit in 2013-14.

An Open University spokesman told Bristol24/7: “As part of a project started last year to look at how students are supported around the UK, The Open University is due to inform colleagues of a proposal for its regional network tomorrow. This proposal has been shared with those directly affected today.”

The Open University has been in its Redcliffe offices since 1991.

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