Education cutbacks possible at Duxford Museum

According to the Prospect union, the Duxford Imperial War Museum has made a proposal to enforce cutbacks in education.  The reasoning behind this is so that the Imperial War Museum (IWM) group can save £4m per year by reducing services at its sites in London and Cambridgeshire.

Andrew Lansley, MP of South Cambridgeshire, noted that it is imperative that the education provided by Duxford is maintained, the BBC News reports.

The IWM notes that it included staff in talks while planning their next moves.

The union explained that the cutbacks would impact 20 management and administrative jobs as well as five jobs within the unit itself.  There are about 50,000 children who visit Duxford while on school trips every year.

Prospect warns that if there are fewer visitors to the museum as a result of these cutbacks, further jobs may be lost, which would result in the site being closed in the winter, as well as admittance fees for children, who can currently visit the museum free of charge.

Located south-west of the city of Cambridge, Duxford museum had been a base that was used during the Battle of Britain.  It is a very well preserved airfield that was in active use during WWII.  Thousands of people visit the site every year.

The reason that IWM has been considering lowering their costs is because fewer grants are being given to them than in the past.  The cutbacks coincided with IWM’s efforts to refurbish its museum in London, the cost of which was £40m.  The objective was to have this upgrade in place by the 100 year anniversary of WWI.

Lansley described Duxford as being the country’s biggest primary school and that it provides children with necessary education.  He also mentioned that he is planning on speaking to the chancellor about the possibility of IWM being provided with endowment from bank penalties in order to continue to provided teaching.

Duxford states that although education and sharing knowledge is their focus, they have to stay within their financial means when providing service.

Next steps on what will be happening will be decided next year.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE