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Closing Stourbridge College 'better alternative' - MP

By Richard Guttridge | Stourbridge | Education | Published:

Closing Stourbridge College is a "better alternative" than it continuing to be run by its current bosses, the town's MP has said.

Stourbridge College

Margot James suggested she has no intention of joining a campaign to save the college being spearheaded by Labour councillor Pete Lowe.

Government minister Ms James reiterated she did not believe it was possible for debt-ridden Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) to continue to run the Hagley Road site.

She said she will instead focus on attempting to ensure some form of education provision can continue at the college building.

Margot James

It comes ahead of a public meeting this week organised by former Dudley Council leader Pete Lowe, whose campaign to save the college is gearing up and has union support.

Students will move to Dudley and Halesowen colleges if the closure goes ahead this summer.

Following a meeting with the Further Education Commissioner at the Department of Education, Ms James said: "BMet owes almost £20 million to banks and the taxpayer; its governors have no legal choice but to reduce the debt to a sustainable level.

"The sale of assets is the only way forward for BMet and our college is vulnerable because of falling student numbers in an area where there is more than enough provision.

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"At the moment I think the offer from Dudley and Halesowen colleges, two excellent institutions rated outstanding and good respectively by Ofsted, to provide continuing education to Stourbridge students and to offer the overwhelming majority of teaching staff positions is a better alternative to allowing the college to continue under BMet."

However, Councillor Lowe remains committed to saving the college and said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by community support over recent days.

"In addition to the motion I have placed on Dudley Council, over 20,000 people have viewed my video and welcomed our campaign to save the college.

“I stand side by side with unions, students and our community in fighting this closure that will have such a detrimental impact on our community in Stourbridge and significantly restrict working class communities from gaining access to vital FE education. We must stand together and resist this closure at every opportunity.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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