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UCU condemns Warwickshire College Group campus closure

29 March 2021 | last updated: 12 April 2021

UCU has today condemned Warwickshire College Group's decision to shut down and sell off its Malvern Hills campus, whilst reducing and selling off a large part of the Evesham campus.

Following proposals announced last year, Warwickshire College Group is planning to close its Malvern campus in the August, before the site is sold, and learners and staff are forced to move to the reduced Evesham campus, more than 20 miles away and over 90 minutes by public transport.

The union said that moving courses to other sites would limit the options of 16-19 year olds in the area as well as cut choices for adults wishing to re-skill following the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

UCU also condemned the lack of proper consultation with students, staff and the local community, and called for the results of the internal college review to be made public. The union pointed to a process of managed decline that has been in place since the merger of the separate colleges in 2016, highlighting a marked lack of investment in the site, the workforce and curriculum development, and unmet promises on the development of new courses.

UCU regional support official, Teresa Corr said: 'Warwickshire College Group must rethink its plan to close Malvern Hills campus and cut local educational provision. The decision does not make sense. At Malvern alone, there were 900 enrolments in the last academic year and the community needs the college. On the back of the Covid pandemic the need for educational opportunities for young people need to be grown not cut. Over the last decade rural communities have been hard hit, losing local educational opportunities and these cuts must stop.

'We call on college management to properly consult with unions and the local community, and to make public the reasons behind its decision to close Malvern Hills and force staff and students to travel to a new campus over 20 miles away. Since the merger these campuses have been subject to lack of investment and as the country and region begins the Covid recovery process, now is the time to be adding to local education and skills provision, not cutting it.'

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