Sevenoaks students wait to learn what is going to happen to their college after it goes into administration
WITH the summer holidays fast approaching, Sevenoaks students who attend Hadlow College are waiting to hear what lies in the future following the news it had gone into educational administration. It is understood this is the first time this has happened to a further and higher education college.
The agricultural college comes under the umbrella of the Hadlow Group which also runs West Kent College in Tonbridge, Ashford College and the Hadlow Rural Community School. Graham Morley, who is the Interim principal at the Tonbridge and Ashford colleges, has reassured students that they will not be affected by the Hadlow situation.
The Further Education Commissioner, Richard Atkins was scheduled to visit West Kent and Ashford College last year, but according to a report in the publication FE Week, he was told by a Hadlow Group employee that Hadlow College had run out of money. It transpired it would be unable to meet its payroll in February without ‘exceptional financial support’.
In an interview with FE Week, Mr Atkins said he and his colleagues were genuinely shocked by what they found when they visited Hadlow.
He told FE Week: “When we walked through the door the vice principal, Mark Lumsden-Taylor, had already resigned and was on gardening leave.
“The principal, Paul Hannan, was in the college on the day we arrived. He was not well and he left the college at midday to see a doctor and he did not return.”
There are now new chairs of governors at Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College now have a separate board. An interim Chief Financial Officer has also been appointed.
The administrators appointed at Hadlow College are looking at possibly selling parts of the Hadlow Group to other educational establishments within a 30-mile radius.
This is very concerning beyond sad. I know several people of all ages who have attended Hadlow College and gone on to be successful professional gardeners – some employed and some self-employed, but all contributing to the Garden of England and making a living.June 1, 2019