Further education college faces insolvency


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Hadlow College was brought back from the brink of closure in 2002

A struggling college has requested to be put into educational administration, in the first application of its kind.

The Hadlow Group, which runs Hadlow College in Kent, is being investigated over financial irregularities.

If the request is granted next week, the college – which has more than 2,000 students and 454 staff – would be the first in the UK to go through the new education insolvency regime.

A spokesman for Hadlow College said it was deemed “necessary”.

‘Business as usual’

The application follows a review of the college’s finances by government agencies, which found “immediate financial challenges”.

The Education Secretary applied to the High Court directly.

Interim principal Graham Morley was brought in following the resignations of the principal and deputy principal earlier in the year.

He said he wanted to “reassure” students, parents and staff that all courses would be continuing.

“On a day-to-day basis nothing will happen, it will be business as usual,” he said, adding: “It is just the way the business is administered which will change behind the scenes.”

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Graham Morley was brought in to try to safeguard the future of the Hadlow Group

Should the administration application be granted, business advisory firm BDO will act as the education administrators.

A spokeswoman said it was working with a number of stakeholders, including the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the Further Education Commissioner and the college.

She added they are exploring the options available to the college, which specialises in rural sector training, to ensure “stability is maintained and that the education and training provided by the college is unaffected”.

Any court order will only apply to Hadlow College itself and not any of its subsidiaries – including Betteshanger Parks and Hadlow Rural Community School – or to West Kent and Ashford College.

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