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Pupils join fight over Stourbridge College and Kidderminster Academy closure

By Richard Guttridge | Stourbridge | Education | Published:

Students and staff are rallying against the decision to close Stourbridge College as it emerged Kidderminster Academy will also be axed.

Stourbridge College

Students are now set to come face to face with Birmingham Metropolitan College bosses at the Hagley Road site in Stourbridge on Saturday over the closure in September.

A sign saying 'Save our college' has gone up in a window above the main entrance, while former Dudley Council leader and ward councillor Pete Lowe called on people in Stourbridge to launch a protest.

Several students told the Express & Star they only found about the closure through the press or social media.

The campus, which has received significant investment over recent years, will be sold off by cash-strapped BMet and students moved to Dudley and Halesowen colleges from September.

Kidderminster Academy, also run by BMet, will also close. Students studying fashion, media, games design and textiles will be given the chance to move to the Art and Design Centre at Brierley Hill.

Pete Lowe

Councillor Lowe said: "Over the last few days I have been inundated with telephone calls and discussions with Trade Unions tutors/students and parents over the decision of BMet to close Stourbridge College.

"I will be meeting with representatives of UCU and UNISON over coming days.

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"People will be aware that I have referred to this decision as a 'asset strip from our community'. I opposed the takeover by BMet years ago as I could see the implications to our town

"It is my belief that we should fight this decision by BMet to close Stourbridge College and hold those accountable for putting at risk our education in Stourbridge. We should stand shoulder to shoulder with students, tutors, unions, community activists and demand this decision is overturned.

"We may win, we may not but either way we can look at each other and say that it was not for the want of trying."

Students who spoke outside the college said they were unhappy with the decision.

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Kidderminster Academy

Holly Weaver, aged 17, from Cradley, said: "We haven't been told anything about it. It has just come from nowhere. I go on Facebook and see the college is closing."

Leah, 18, from Quarry Bank, said: "This is the only college people can get to easily without having to worry about transport.

"It is going to cause a lot of disruption. It has made me want to drop out."

Elisa, 17, from Stourbridge, said: "They should have waited another year until the first year had finished and not enrolled anyone new. It is a lot of hassle."

BMet is holding an event at Stourbridge College and the Art and Design Centre on Saturday, between 10am and 2pm.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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