Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bus Funding Cuts Could 'Cripple' Growing College

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bus Funding Cuts Could 'Cripple' Growing College

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lognonne Reporter Ruth.Lognonne@ncjmedia.co.uk

ONE of Northumberland's most successful headteachers has warned that cuts to school buses could cripple county colleges.

Marcus Clinton, who was brought in as vice principal at Kirkley Hall college four years ago to turn the under-performing college around, has hit out at Northumberland County Council's plans to scrap free transport for post-16 students.

He said the proposed cuts, which would save PS2.4m a year from the council's budget, would seriously jeopardise the progress made by Kirkley Hall college and others like it.

"I was brought in four years ago to sort out Kirkley Hall and we've upped our student numbers from 300 to 800," he said. "It's now a sustainable college and 90% of our students are leaving the college and either going on to further education or employment.

"Most of our students come from rural Northumberland and it's nearly impossible for them to get here without the free transport currently available.

"Northumberland is a vast and diverse county that is not easily accessible to many.

" ese proposed transport cuts are hugely concerning because they will encourage young people to go and study in the city where they are on a train route.

" is could cripple our campus at Kirkley Hall, which would be devastating because we've made so much progress in recent years.

"All colleges have suered budget cuts upwards of PS1m recently. If a further fall in numbers is driven by transport cuts then colleges across the county will undoubtedly be at risk."

Northumberland College is currently carrying out a PS9m improvement project across its Kirkley Hall and Ashington campuses.

e college secured PS3m from the Government's Skills Funding Agency towards the ambitious revamp and matched the grant with PS6m from its own funds to pay for the package of new build and refurbishments. …

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