Nicola Mannock, the college’s acting principal, told Midweek Herald: “The college has proposed this measure reluctantly; however, action is necessary to ensure that we become a more efficient and dynamic organisation in the future.”

Mrs Mannock added: “Across the country colleges are facing cuts to their funding allocations. Stratford College has to act now in order to future proof the great service we provide to thousands of learners, employers and our local community each year.

“It is vital that we bring our costs into line with the income we generate and the funding we receive. Unfortunately redundancies will be an inevitable part of our strategy to reduce costs.

“We will, of course, continue to look at increasing our income and identifying efficiency cost savings across the college.”

The college pointed out that before this announcement it had introduced measures to keep costs down and avoid job losses, including the imposition of a freeze on recruitment and increasing staff utilisation.

It had also looked to make savings on property and equipment, such as not replacing its minibus.

The college has now en-tered into a 30-day consultation period with staff and trade union representatives. The proposed job losses, which represent nearly ten per cent of the 450 full and part-time posts, are likely to come into effect by April.

“In the first instance the college will look to achieve the savings via a process of voluntary redundancy,” it said. “If the required savings aren’t achieved we will consider compulsory redundancy.”

The redundancies come hot on the heels of a period of turmoil at the college. In the space of a few weeks before Christmas it received an “in need of improvement” Ofsted report, lost its principal of eight years’ standing and acquired a new chairman of governors.

But yesterday Mrs Mannock declared: “We are on a journey to become an outstanding college with students at the heart of everything we do. As it always has done, the college will run a full range of courses, enabling all students to access a wide range of career opportunities next year and into the future.

“We will not be turning away any prospective students and we are offering a ‘student guarantee’ ensuring that there are places available for all students.

“As part of our aim to become an outstanding college we have made a commitment to invest our resources in teaching and learning, ensuring that our current and future students receive the best quality education and college experience.”