Staff and pupils at Worthing-based college face uncertain futures amid financial pressure

Staff and pupils at a Worthing college face uncertain futures as financial pressure leads to a number of course shake-ups.

Northbrook College, a member of Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (the MET) which has campuses around Worthing, is switching some courses to the Brighton campus, citing funding cuts.

Charlotte Prendergast, 17, from Shoreham, has just finished her first year of a BTEC in travel and tourism in Worthing, but will now be sent to complete her final year in Brighton.

The teenager said the change will have a serious impact on her education.

“Most other students have said they would just leave if it moved to Brighton,” she said.

“I’m going to try it out but if I don’t love it I would leave or change course, which would have a huge impact.

“It would look terrible on my CV as employers would see I’ve changed course. That’s a whole year of my education down the drain.”

Only one out of the ten students in her class lives closer to Brighton, she said, increasing their travel costs and time.

Many, including Charlotte, have jobs in Worthing with shift patterns that would become unmanageable.

A spokesman for the MET confirmed changes were afoot, including a ‘consultation period’ until June 5 aimed at keeping redundancies to a minimum.

The spokesman said governmental adult education funding had been halved since 2010, with cuts of 20 per cent for 16 to 18-year-olds over the same period.

“In order to continue to prosper at a time when colleges have faced a cut in around 30 per cent of our income, we are making some changes which include consolidating a small number of courses onto one campus, where they have previously been offered at two,” said the spokesman.

“By locating provision on a single site, the college can invest in centres of excellence to give students the best possible experience with high-quality teachers in first-class, industry standard facilities.

“We are working closely with any students affected by the proposed changes to ensure they are offered support, guidance and alternative study options if required.

The changes, the spokesman said, were nationwide and not peculiar to Greater Brighton Metropolitan College.