School 'unaffected' by college insolvency

A college facing insolvency has assured parents and teachers a school on its site will not be affected, but discussions are ongoing about a £1 million debt.

Hadlow College, in Kent, will be the first institution taken through a new insolvency regime for colleges, Schools Week’s sister paper FE Week revealed today.

The regime came into effect in January and means that for the first time in history, colleges can fail and go into an insolvency process.

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, has now made an application to the High Court to place Hadlow College into education administration, but the college confirmed today that Hadlow Rural Community School, which is based on the college’s site in Tonbridge, will be “completely unaffected”.

The land occupied by the school is rented from the college on a 125-year lease.

However, annual accounts for the academy – run by a single-academy trust of the same name – show nearly £1 million is owed to the college for “recharged expenses for salaries and lessons in the college”.

A spokesperson for Hadlow College said “positive conversations are currently taking place relating to any possible monies owed between the two establishments”.

Tom Tugendhat, a senior Conservative MP who represents the area, warned in a letter to skills minister Anne Milton last week that the college and school offer “land based agricultural courses and learning methods which are unique and not replicated by any other provider around.

“It is essential that learning here remains,” he insisted.

The application will be heard on May 22. A government investigation into financial irregularities at the college is ongoing.