“Shocking” proposals by Oxford Brookes University to cut history staff have been condemned as “remarkably severe” by a learned society for historians.

The Royal Historical Society’s comments came as the university looks to axe up to 48 academic staff from subjects across the board.

For history, it is believed that all six of the department’s professors are at risk of redundancy.

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The society claimed the cuts would have a “considerable impact” on a department that was once considered a “significant force” with around 30 historians.

A statement on its website said: “For history the proposal is shocking.

“All six of the department’s professors are at risk of redundancy. Four will be required to leave either ‘voluntarily’ in January or through compulsory redundancy by Spring 2024.

“If carried through, this would reduce the number of front-line teaching staff to as low as eight full-time equivalent staff.

“This is a long way from the mid-2010s when Brookes History was a significant force of around 30 historians with an average annual intake of more than 100 undergraduates across single and joint honours degrees.

“The impact of these cuts will be considerable. First and foremost are those whose positions are now at risk. But the effects go much further.

“Redundancies, mid-way through the year, will severely deplete the department’s teaching capacity.

“They will damage students’ learning experience — most notably for those in their final year preparing dissertations and will mean much heavier teaching loads for colleagues who remain.

Oxford Mail: Protest at Oxford Brookes last month in response to department cuts Protest at Oxford Brookes last month in response to department cuts (Image: Matthew Norman)“Furthermore, cuts of this focus and severity look set to end a culture of historical research that’s previously thrived at Oxford Brookes.

“This is a research group widely admired and respected across the profession, and one that has performed well in recent research assessments.”

Oxford Brookes is looking to save £2m by cutting staff and plans to close its maths and music departments over the coming years.

Dozens of university students, staff and union members gathered on campus to protest the planned course closures and staff cuts last month.

A university spokesman said the decision was “difficult” and blamed “financial challenges.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford Brookes students protesting Oxford Brookes students protesting (Image: Matthew Norman)He said: “Like many institutions across the sector, the university is experiencing increasing financial challenges due to a range of external factors, such as inflation, flat student fees for UK undergraduates for over a decade, and increases in staff pay and employer pension contributions.

“As a result, the university has taken the difficult decision to reduce staff posts in some specific academic areas, and to make other, pay-related staff cost savings across the university.

“We would like to emphasise that redundancy is, and will always be, our last resort.

“We remain committed to all of our current students, and will ensure that changes to staffing do not interfere with our students continuing and completing successfully their programme of study.”