West Kent and Ashford College to go into administration

It will become the second college to go through the insolvency regime

West Kent and Ashford College is set to become the second college to go into education administration

West Kent and Ashford College (WKAC) is set to become the second college to enter “education administration”, under the insolvency regime created by the Technical and Further Education Act 2017.

This comes three months after Hadlow College entered administration. Both Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College are part of the Hadlow College Group.

According to a statement from WKAC, its board has asked the government to take the necessary steps in order to secure the long-term future of further education for the communities it serves.


Quick read: Hadlow College placed into education administration

Read more: Principal and deputy suspended at Hadlow College Group

Background: 'High risk' of college insolvency, warns FE commissioner


Transferring provision

This follows recommendations made by the further education commissioner in July, which included that East Kent College Group should take on West Kent and Ashford College’s provision and facilities in Ashford, while North Kent College should take on WKAC's provision and facilities in Tonbridge.

The petition for WKAC to be placed into education administration was filed at the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales on 6 August. If the application is approved, it is expected that education administrators will be appointed at a hearing tomorrow. 

WKAC chair Martin Doel said: “While finances have been stabilised over recent months, the college is faced with exceptional outstanding liabilities and would be insolvent without external support.”

Mr Doel added: “Entering education administration would provide the college with an effective means of implementing the recommendations in the further education commissioner’s options review, which are aimed at obtaining a long-term sustainable solution for the existing provision offered by the college.”

Operating as normal

The college's statement stressed it would continue to operate as normal, with applications and enrolments continuing for courses starting next month. Staff also continue to be employed as normal. 

Graham Morley, interim principal at the college, said: "We recognise that students, applicants and their families, alongside employers and other partners, may well be concerned about the impact that the education administration application may have on them and their courses.  We would like to reassure that this will not affect the day-to-day operations of the college. All courses will continue as normal and they should still apply to – and enrol with – us for this September."

In May, financial health notices to improve were published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency for the constituent colleges of the Hadlow College Group: Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College. 

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Following a request from West Kent and Ashford College we have applied to the court to place the college in education administration. This is now a matter for the court. This process is designed to specifically ensure that learners’ interests are protected and continue their studies with minimal disruption.”

 

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