Birmingham Met to demerge Stourbridge College

Black Country provision to be transferred from Birmingham Met to Dudley College of Technology and Halesowen College

Julia Belgutay

Birmingham Metropolitan college has announced a demerger with Stourbridge College

Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) will transfer its Black Country provision to Dudley College of Technology and Halesowen College, it has announced.

The three institutions revealed this morning that, following an eight-week review by the FE commissioner’s team, Stourbridge College students will be transferred to Dudley and Halesowen colleges by the start of the new academic year in September 2019.  

BMet announced in September that chief executive Andrew Cleaves had left his position with immediate effect. 

The college has been subject to a notice of concern over its finances since July 2015. In a report on the institution’s positionpublished at the time, then FE commissioner Sir David Collins said its turnover had “declined significantly and the bottom line has also deteriorated, having moved from a surplus in 2009-10 to a significant deficit in 2014-15”.

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'No loss of college provision'

Dudley College of Technology will take over apprenticeship provision, art and design, construction, equine, foundation learning, digital and ICT and motor vehicle.

Meanwhile, Halesowen College will take over responsibility for business, early years, health and social care, public services, sport and science. Both colleges have committed to no loss of entitlement for any learner or employer currently engaged with BMet in Dudley borough.

The announcement states that BMet’s Hagley Road campus will close with learners transferring to Dudley or Halesowen colleges, and the building and land will be sold.

Dudley College of Technology will continue to provide education courses for high-needs learners at the Art and Design Centre in Brierley Hill and Skills Shop in Merry Hill, and art and design students at the BMet Kidderminster campus will also transfer. 

BMet principal and chief executive Cliff Hall said: “This decision has not been taken lightly. Stourbridge College is performing really well and offers fantastic post-16 vocational options for students. I am proud of all we have achieved since we took over in 2013. However, the proposals submitted by Dudley College of Technology and Halesowen College were compelling and the BMet board of governors has concluded that this change is in the best interests of our learners both in the Black Country and Birmingham.”

'Full support' of FE commissioner

He added the decision had been made with the full support of the FE commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. “We will now enter into detailed discussions with both Dudley and Halesowen on the practicalities of these arrangements.  We will also undertake detailed consultation with our own staff.”

“Our priorities will be to work in the best interests of learners, to protect provision and to ensure we provide them with clear pathways for the future. Alongside this, we will be working to minimise impact on staff and protect as many job roles as possible.”

Mr Hall said while the future of both the Art and Design and Independent Living Centre at Brierley Hill were secure, the Stourbridge College premises “would not be utilised beyond September and BMet will be responsible for the sale of the Hagley Road building”. “We will ensure there is clear communication to all stakeholders, especially our students, prospective students and their parents and guardians,” he added.

Learners 'have nothing to worry about'

Lowell Williams, chief executive of Dudley College of Technology, said: “We can absolutely guarantee a place for every current learner and every new applicant, either in Dudley, Brierley Hill or Halesowen, and no employer provision will be lost. We look forward to working closely together with BMet and Halesowen in the coming weeks.”

Halesowen College principal David Williams said: “Our message to parents and learners is very clear – there is nothing to worry about. We will provide a way for every learner to complete their studies and for new applicants there is a place for all of you with us.”

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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