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Further Education Commissioner recommends how Hadlow Group colleges should be divided up

West Kent and Hadlow Colleges could be taken over by North Kent College under proposals drawn up by a top education boss.

The Further Education Commissioner - which suggests actions college governing bodies could make to improve performance - has made a series of recommendations to the scandal-hit Hadlow Group.

Education secretary Damian Hinds took the unprecedented step earlier this year of applying to the courts for Hadlow College to enter education administration.

An administrator was then appointed after the college suspended both its chief executive Paul Hannan and deputy chief executive Mark Lumsdon-Taylor amid an investigation into its finances.

In recent weeks, an Ofsted report found Hadlow College had made "reasonable progress" since the crisis first emerged, but now the FE Commissioner has recommended three different organisations divide up the group's portfolio of colleges.

Under the plans, West Kent and Hadlow Colleges and the group's Greenwich campus would be taken on by North Kent College, the EKC Group would take on Ashford College and the Canterbury Spring Lane campus, while Capel Manor College would take over the site in Mottingham.

West Kent College (7788428)
West Kent College (7788428)

A buyer is still being sought for the Betteshanger Park site.

A spokesman for the Hadlow Group said: "Following an options review of Hadlow and West Kent and Ashford Colleges, the FE Commissioner’s office has now made its recommendations to the colleges.

"The Education Administrators (in respect to Hadlow College) and the West Kent and Ashford College board will now consider these recommendations.

"Staff have been informed of the recommendations and will be made aware of relevant decisions as soon as possible and, where appropriate, will be kept informed over the summer.

Ashford College (7788480)
Ashford College (7788480)

"The colleges will undertake a series of staff update sessions around the campuses/sites next week where staff can raise any questions or issues of concern in relation to the recommendations and the next steps.

"We expect to make a further statement once a decision has been reached regarding recommendations."

A spokesman for North Kent College added: "Following a robust process the FE Commissioner has now made his recommendations to help solve the challenges at Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College.

"The recommendations follow a procedure which saw a range of providers develop bids for either whole, or constituent parts, of both Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College.

"The leadership teams of Capel Manor College, EKC Group and North Kent College will now undertake the due diligence required."

The Department for Education has been approached for comment.

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