In response to an article in the Birmingham Mail yesterday, Bournville College in Longbridge has denied it is facing a “funding crisis”, with a spokesman telling B31 Voices that the college is responding to current “financial challenges” in the further education sector.
The article said that four agency staff had been “axed” and other staff were being asked to take voluntary redundancy.
A spokeswoman for Bournville College also told the Mail that principal Norman Cave was “currently unavailable due to personal reasons” and that an acting principal was in place.
However, a spokeswoman told the Bromsgrove Standard that: “[…]the voluntary severance applications were something the college did every year and, responding to what has been written in another media report, she denied the establishment was ‘facing a crisis’.”
A spokesman for Bournville College today told B31 Voices that the college, like many in the sector, was: “[…]responding to the financial challenges in the sector by reviewing resources and expenditure. Despite this, it is business as usual at Bournville College.”
And he reassured users that the service offered by the college would be unchanged: “Our most recent Ofsted report stated that the College is ‘Good with outstanding features’. The student experience or the award winning customer service we offer will not be affected by any of the forthcoming changes.”
Bournville College moved to Longbridge in 2011 into a modern state of the art £66 million building, an essential element of the beginnings of regeneration on the old MG Rover site.
MP for Northfield Richard Burden responded saying: “I am very concerned about the news of the cuts being faced by Bournville College. Bournville is not only hugely important to expanding apprenticeships and providing young people with the skills and opportunities they deserve. It is also a cornerstone of the regeneration of the Longbridge area.”
Mr Burden promised to follow up on the issues, both locally and in Westminster, saying: “I have asked for an urgent meeting with the Chair of Governors and the Acting Principal. I will also be raising the matter with Ministers who must face up to what their policies are doing to further education and the life chances of young people.”
Conservative party candidate for Northfield Rachel Maclean said: “I am saddened by the news of financial problems and any job losses currently facing the College. Our priority must be the young people and their education, and that is a priority for this government who are already working with the College to resolve the crisis.”
She dismissed the notion that central government was responsible for the financial difficulties, adding: “However, as funding settlements for the College are worked out far in advance, its completely inaccurate to suggest that central government funding is at the root of the current challenges. This Government has a record of increasing opportunities for young people, with record numbers of apprenticeships and record falls in youth unemployment, and are committed to doing even more”.
Longbridge Cllr Andy Cartwright (Labour) said: “The college was the first building built on the new town centre. It is so sad to read that it has run into financial difficulties. I just hope the students are not affected in any way and are supported though this. I also hope that a meeting is set up to help resolve these issues as the young people who are going though apprenticeships deserve better. And so do the people who work very hard in the college.”
A number of comments have been left on our Facebook page from users of the college and local residents. Selected comments:
- Longbridge Cllr Ian Cruise writes: “Still use the college. Cuts to FE colleges from Govt are the reason for decisions at college. It is a great place to study. I’m thinking of doing a business management course soon.”
- Gail Rogers: “This is a fab college. Again our young people are being failed by our government.”
- Ann Jefferies: “Why has the funding been cut for 16-18 when the government have said they have to stay in education.”
- Denise Sanders: “Kids have not received free meals entitlements, transport nor bursaries. These are the kids with education statements/ learning support plans. The vulnerable ones, the ones who need it!! Shameful!!”
- Dave Smith: “Looks like the economic recovery is really gathering pace”
- Kaylee Marie Moylan: “Was taught from the best in this college, it deserves praise. Their teachers are spot on but this is saddening hearing this news”
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