THE CAMPAIGN to save Malvern Hills College has been stepped up with those involved in it appealing directly to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
Malvern Hills District Council, Worcestershire County Council, West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin and the SOS Task Group have written to the ESFA to map out its argument for keeping the college open.
Statistics show, alongside the Government-funded students, there was a growing cohort of self-funding attendees – 800 in total from 2019 to 2020 – a 20 per cent increase since 2016.
Coun Beverley Nielsen, the chairman of the SOS Task Group, said it was a crucial time in the battle.
“Residents deeply concerned at the possible closure of Malvern Hills College should be aware the ESFA is very shortly due to determine whether Malvern needs an adult learning College at all.
“Warwickshire Colleges Group, the sellers of the site, are arguing we do not need it any longer as all the Government-funded FE students have been relocated to Evesham – a two-hours round trip for those living in Malvern.
“These self-funded students have benefitted hugely from their time at Malvern Hills College – gaining new skills and pursuing new careers thanks to new expertise gained.
“The college is unique in the West Midlands and thousands of students have benefitted over the years.”
The college has been registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Malvern Hills District Council and more than 3,150 people have already signed the Change.org petition to save the college.
Coun Nielsen added: “It is very important to the Task Group that we gain recognition from those in authority at the ESFA of the fundamental importance of Malvern Hills College.
“It is vital that Warwickshire Colleges Group opens their doors and meets with us, given the formal offer that Worcestershire Community Foundation has made to purchase our college.”
She added time was of the essence if the college was to reopen in September for the new academic year.
“There is much to be done – existing and new courses to organise, course scheduling to complete, teaching rota, new brochures and all the marketing, staff to transition from WCG to our new community company which will run all this for the benefit of our residents and employers.”