Second chance for condemned campus

4th December 2009 at 00:00
The acting principal of Brooklands College is reconsidering controversial plans to close one of its campuses after the institution was left pound;11 million in debt due to the capital funding debacle

Steve Hutchinson, who was appointed as acting principal following the resignation last week of principal Colin Staff, will look again at the future of the Ashford campus, formerly Spelthorne Sixth Form College.

The Surrey college was left with debts of pound;11 million after preparing a bid to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for pound;96 million of capital funding.

Miscalculation by the LSC meant that Brooklands, like scores of other colleges, received nothing towards its project, which included rebuilding the Ashford site and its main Weybridge campus. Ashford was therefore threatened with closure and the college also proposed to end A-level provision at Weybridge.

A statement from the college, released this week, said: "The team start their review with a `blank sheet of paper' and will consider options for the future provision at the college based on learner needs. This means that recent announcements regarding the Ashford site and A-levels are not necessarily `set in stone'."

It added that Mr Hutchinson would be working with the LSC and local authorities to produce a five-year plan for the college.

A college spokesperson said that Mr Staff had brought forward his retirement from next summer because "he personally could not set a long- term agenda for the college".

A spokesperson for the LSC said the council would be working with Brooklands to agree a way forward that "ensures both continuity of provision for young people and financial sustainability for the college".

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