BMet, Dudley College of Technology and Halesowen College are pleased to announce changes to further education delivery in Stourbridge and the Black Country which will ensure that all students and applicants continue to receive an excellent learning experience.
The announcement comes following an 8-week review led by the FE Commissioners team and will see BMet transfer its Black Country provision to the two locally based colleges.
Under the proposed transfer Dudley College of Technology and Halesowen College have committed to no loss of entitlement for any learner or employer currently engaged with BMet in Dudley Borough.
The change to day to day operations of the college will see Stourbridge students transferred to Dudley and Halesowen colleges by the start of the new academic year in September 2019.
Dudley College of Technology will take over apprenticeship provision, art and design, construction equine, foundation learning, digital and ICT and motor vehicle; and Halesowen College will take over responsibility for business, early years, health and social care, public services, sport and science.
The provision at the College of Sporting Excellence will remain with BMet – who already run a strong sporting programme at Sutton Coldfield College.
As a result of the changes the Hagley Road campus will close with learners transferring to Dudley or Halesowen colleges. The Stourbridge College Hagley Road building and land will be disposed of. BMet will manage the sale of the property. Dudley College of Technology will continue to provide education, including courses for high needs learners at The Art and Design Centre in Brierley Hill and Skills Shop in Merry Hill. Art and design students at the BMet Kidderminster campus, will also transfer to Dudley College of Technology.
Commenting on the decision, BMet Principal and CEO, Cliff Hall said:
“This decision has not been taken lightly.
Stourbridge College is performing really well and offers fantastic post 16 vocational options for students. I am proud of all we have achieved since we took over in 2013.
However, the proposals submitted by Dudley College of Technology and Halesowen College were compelling and the BMet board of governors has concluded that this change is in the best interests of our learners both in the Black Country and Birmingham.
The decision has been made with the full support of the FE Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
We will now enter into detailed discussions with both Dudley and Halesowen on the practicalities of these arrangements. We will also undertake detailed consultation with our own staff.
Our priorities will be to work in the best interests of learners, to protect provision and to ensure we provide them with clear pathways for the future. Alongside this we will be working to minimise impact on staff and protect as many job roles as possible.”
Commenting on the closure of the Hagley Road campus in Stourbridge he noted:
“While the future of both the Art and Design and Independent Living Centre at Brierley Hill are secure, the Stourbridge College premises will not be utilised beyond September and BMet will be responsible for the sale of the Hagley Road building.
We will ensure there is clear communication to all stakeholders, especially our students, prospective students and their parents and guardians.”
Welcoming the public statement Lowell Williams Chief Executive Officer, Dudley College of Technology said:
“Our two Dudley based colleges are very well placed to ensure there is continuation of learning for all BMet’s Dudley based students. We can absolutely guarantee a place for every current learner and every new applicant, either in Dudley, Brierley Hill or Halesowen and no employer provision will be lost.
We look forward to working closely together with BMet and Halesowen in the coming weeks.”
Echoing this statement David Williams Principal of Halesowen said:
“Our message to parents and learners is very clear – there is nothing to worry about. We will provide a way for every learner to complete their studies and for new applicants there is a place for all of you with us.”
Further public announcements, student and parent information events and consultation activities are planned.
Once the transfer proposals are finalised, detailed operational proposals will be made available in the public domain.