Staff have voiced fears for the future of a Black Country college after it closed down a range of "non-viable" courses.

Three courses have been axed immediately as part of restructuring at Sandwell College which will also end all full-time GCSEs and reduce A-level provision.

A further three courses are under review and other courses face merger which is expected to result in at least 24 redundancies.

Tutors last night called on principal Val Bailey to resign, claiming the move was not in the best interest of the local community.

The University and College Union demanded the institution, which has about 200 lecturers and 1,400 students, reconsiders the action.

A memo sent to managers by Peter McDonald, chairman of UCU's Sandwell College branch, warns: "The college is in turmoil with students enrolled last week turning up for classes that no longer exist.

"Lecturers have voted no confidence in the management and have called for the principal to resign. The situation is very serious, if this situation is not resolved in a constructive manner Sandwell could lose its college for good.

"We feel the college's decision to axe such courses in not acting in the well being and interests of the local community."

Sandwell College has been through a troubled period in recent times.

Last year it was given a year's notice to improve by the Learning and Skills Council after inspectors judged six out of 11 of its categories "inadequate", including leadership and management, the level of achievement, and effectiveness of provision. The rationalisation is part of a drive to turn round the institution.

Under the move, courses in brickwork, management and logistics and music technology have been closed with immediate effect.

Automotive engineering, access to HE and accounting are under review. Electrical installation is to merge with electronics and CAE while office admin/IT and IT applications will also come together.

A spokesman for Sandwell College said: "We're doing what other colleges are doing - removing non-viable courses."

The college said students affected have been contacted and offered advice and guidance on alternative courses.

The Learning and Skills Council, which is responsible for funding colleges, last night claimed Sandwell had made significant improvements.

But regional director David Cragg added: "While we are confident the college will fulfil all the criteria in the action plan, the signing off will only be confirmed on publication of the 2006/7 academic results."