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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - Hadlow College - 23 May 2019

Hadlow College makes a huge contribution - not just to the village, but to Tonbridge and the wider Kent economy. Not only that, but they provide an education like no other in the country. Their reputation and skill as one of the leading agricultural colleges draws students from all over the country, who go on to fill some of the important roles in our farms and food industry. That matters to Kent and the whole of the UK.

Hadlow College has been part of our community for almost 50 years, and in recent years I had been delighted to help secure millions of pounds investment for them to ensure that they retained their unique and proud status. So, hearing that the College was in deep financial trouble was a nasty surprise. For a place with so much and so many relying on it, the immediate dangers are all too apparent. That is why I started talking to the Department for Education and Further Education Commissioner to make sure we could find a route forward to protect staff and students

It’s most likely that the college will go into Educational Administration and whilst this may be complex, it will mean the College stays open. If the application is approved, an administrator is appointed so current courses will continue, while a longer-term solution is established to protect Further Education across Kent. That should protect staff as well as students.

With an uncertain future ahead, my thoughts are with staff, students and all those who at with the College. We will all know someone who has been taught, works at, or is learning at, one of the sites. It’s crucial the Department for Education’s guidance is followed rigorously to protect staff and students.

Georgie Welford