National Audit Office asked to investigate BMet

A local MP has called for an investigation over BMet's plan to close Stourbridge College and transfer its provision

Julia Belgutay

The National Audit Office has been asked to set up an inquiry into BMet

The National Audit Office has been asked to investigate Birmingham Metropolitan College's conduct over the proposed closure of Stourbridge College.  

Margot James, MP for Stourbridge, has written to the NAO, asking "whether there is scope to investigate how a successful FE college in my constituency was let down by the failures of management and leadership at BMet".

She stated that the town has been "let down by the failures of management and leadership at BMet". She added that the college "was, and is, on the brink of insolvency".

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Background:  Birmingham Met to demerge Stourbridge College

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Longer journeys to college

It was announced earlier this year that BMet planned to close Stourbridge College and transfer all provision to Dudley and Halesowen.

Ms James said: "The prevailing feeling in Stourbridge is that there needs to be a proper inquiry into how this situation unfolded, who is responsible, and what actions should be taken to prevent such an occurrence in the future somewhere else."

In a letter responding to Ms James, seen by Tes, comptroller and auditor general Gareth Davies said he has asked his team to "engage with the Education and Skills Funding Agency in order to establish in more detail the facts of this particular case".  

Last month, a survey by the University and College Union (UCU) showed the majority of students at Stourbridge College would not attend Dudley College of Technology or Halesowen College in September. 

According to the survey of around 100 students, more than three-fifths were deterred from studying at Dudley or Halesowen by extra travel time and cost.

Cliff Hall, principal at BMet, said: "We were unaware that the National Audit Office are looking into financial management at BMET until we saw local press coverage. We will of course provide any information that is requested , most of which will already be in the public domain. We have achieved a successful transfer of students, staff and FE provision to Dudley and Halesowen colleges and the Brierley Hill Art and Design Centre transfers were in tact to Dudley College.”

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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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