South Thames College students kept in dark as classes cancelled in Merton next year

Wimbledon Guardian: South Thames College has not told 25 students they can't come to classes at its Merton campus next year South Thames College has not told 25 students they can't come to classes at its Merton campus next year

Students already enrolled on a course will be told next week they do not have a place for the year – as a college building is being bulldozed.

We can reveal South Thames College (STC) is set to undergo a multimillion redevelopment of two buildings within its Merton campus one year earlier than planned, resulting in a number of staff redundancies and a suspension of studies for two groups of catering students.

The college will spend £6m on transforming its “dilapidated” engineering block into a new catering block and restaurant, in partnership with Bruno Loubet, a top French chef.

The current catering block will also make way for a new unit for 25 students with certain special educational needs (Sen), after the college was given a £1.3m grant from Wandsworth Council.

It means Wandsworth Sen students will be prioritised above Merton residents.

One mother, who did not want to be named, said her 17-year-old son was “stressed out” after hearing rumours the catering block was being closed down, but had not been officially told he would have to go to another college next year.

She said: “I think it is disgraceful they are waiting a month before term starts to tell students they have to go somewhere else next year.

Related links

“It is bang out of order. My son went to Carshalton College last week, but they said they had no spaces left on their catering course. He’s tearing his hair out.”

Sue Rimmer, the principal and chief executive, said a “small handful” of staff were at risk of redundancy, but the college could not tell students until the redundancies were completed next week.

Ms Rimmer explained the sudden news came about because they only recently knew about the grant award from Wandsworth council and, since it has to be spent by March 2013, the redevelopment work had to be brought forward a year earlier than planned.

She said: “We will actively find the nearest college and ask them to make arrangements for taking on students. It is not uncommon for colleges to do this.

“This is a really exciting project for the college to replace a dilapidated old building, which is falling apart, and continue to invest in our future.

“Unfortunately there are some small things you have to do to grasp some greater opportunities going forward.”

It is understood the equivalent of 4.3 staff are at risk of redundancy, including full-time catering lecturers, a full-time catering technician, and two part-time catering technicians.

But the college admitted it has not told its students the redevelopment work, which starts in September, will make its catering block unusable for students who are supposed to be continuing their NVQ professional cookery studies.

A Wandsworth Council spokesman said STC’s Wandsworth campus was thought to be unsuitable and £1.3m would be spent on redeveloping the building. 

The cost of teaching the 24 students with learning difficulties will be come out of normal education budgets.

He added: "The council is working with South Thames College to expand further education provision for young adults with the most significant special education needs and complex medical problems.

"We are hoping to provide these new classes at the college's campus in Morden which will offer ideal accommodation for this specialist type of provision following our significant investment in the site.

"This is good news for local families who have older children with special needs. Currently many young adults who want to access these services must travel to Wallington, which is the nearest location for these classes.

"Our aim is to provide this service much closer to home in partnership with a very good college that provides top quality teaching."


Got a story for us? Call 020 8722 6333, tweet @WimbledonNews or email: newsdesk@wimbledonguardian.co.uk.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:01am Thu 26 Jul 12

furzedown says...

`SUE RIMMER, the principal and chief executive, said a “small handful” of staff were at risk of redundancy, but the college could not tell students until the redundancies were completed next week.` They received their letters over a month ago.....so rubbish they `are at risk`.....some have already gone......the rest finish on the 31st july!!!! Err......a `small handful`......count again!
`SUE RIMMER, the principal and chief executive, said a “small handful” of staff were at risk of redundancy, but the college could not tell students until the redundancies were completed next week.` They received their letters over a month ago.....so rubbish they `are at risk`.....some have already gone......the rest finish on the 31st july!!!! Err......a `small handful`......count again! furzedown

6:51am Fri 27 Jul 12

tjames says...

who owns the campus--who received the proceeds from the sale of the central road site?
who owns the campus--who received the proceeds from the sale of the central road site? tjames

9:18am Fri 27 Jul 12

Carshalton College says...

Carshalton College is not yet full for enrolment onto Catering courses. Please contact Customer Services on 020 8544 4501 or email: cs@carshalton.ac.uk
We will be able to arrange an initial interview with our Catering tutors from Monday 20 August.
Please view www.carshalton.ac.uk for all our course information.
Thank you
Carshalton College is not yet full for enrolment onto Catering courses. Please contact Customer Services on 020 8544 4501 or email: cs@carshalton.ac.uk We will be able to arrange an initial interview with our Catering tutors from Monday 20 August. Please view www.carshalton.ac.uk for all our course information. Thank you Carshalton College

5:35pm Sat 28 Jul 12

imalaydee says...

Ok, don't shoot me for saying this, but why are SENs and "Special Needs" children being prioritised over "normal" kids who want to go to College and get qualifications and actually contribute to our Country?

Please tell me what the Special Needs children will contribute with regard to Taxes etc?
Ok, don't shoot me for saying this, but why are SENs and "Special Needs" children being prioritised over "normal" kids who want to go to College and get qualifications and actually contribute to our Country? Please tell me what the Special Needs children will contribute with regard to Taxes etc? imalaydee

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree