Bidders revealed in K College takeover
Decisions on who could take over the financially-troubled K College when it is broken up next year are another step closer.
Thirty organisations applied to take over the college and that has now been whittled down to a shortlist of eight potential providers.
They are Canterbury College, East Kent College, Hadlow College, Highbury College, Ixion Group Contracts Ltd, Mid Kent College, Newcastle College Group and SEETEC Business Technology Centre Ltd.
OK days... the launch of the K College logo back in 2012
The break-up of the college, which was formed of a merger between West Kent College and South Kent College in 2010, comes after it ran up a deficit of £16million. About 180 staff lost their jobs as the college tried to rein in the spiralling deficit.
Government further education funding chiefs stepped in to stabilise the college and decided it should be split in two, with one half incorporating the Dover and Folkstone campuses, the other comprising Ashford, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.
Around 1,500 students are at the college and could be affected.
K College principal Phil Frier said: "I want to emphasise that for K College it will be business as usual this year, and through the transition period and into 2014/15.
"We are starting the recruitment campaign for 2014/15 in the next few weeks and we will be recruiting students under the K College brand for September 2014.
"Our emphasis during this year will be on continuity and the drive to stabilise the College and to improve the quality of our provision.
"It is clear that whatever the nature of the organisation that comes in, they will want to see that we are not only managing the finances, but also that we have a plan to improve our student success rates.
"Our focus this year will be to improve and to get the College into a much more positive position.
"We are developing a two tear plan for 2013-15 to ensure that we are ready for the new era, and that any further changes for the college are considered in the context of the need for continuity and stability for students, as well as staff."
In a statement, the Skills Funding Agency, which is overseeing the reorganisation, said it was moving on to the next phase involving would-be providers putting together formal bids.
“Working with the Education Funding Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, we have now reviewed the expressions of interest submitted for the education and skills provision in South and West Kent, currently delivered by K College.
'We received 87 expressions of interest from 30 organisations, including a range of colleges and private sector companies'
"We received 87 expressions of interest from 30 organisations, including a range of colleges and private sector companies."
The statement went on: “We now move to the second stage of the competition process and have invited organisations to prepare and submit full tenders, to demonstrate how they will fully meet the needs of the area and deliver high quality provision from August 2014, whilst maintaining continuity for existing learners.
"K College will continue to deliver provision to new and existing learners throughout this process.”
It is understood that the nine shortlisted include some existing colleges as well as private companies.
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