More from the KCC “consultation” meeting at Wornington College. Regular readers of our blog will know that we were upset about the consultation and a Grenfell fundraiser for the College being held on the same day. Well so were many others in our community – we were really pleased to see such a strong level of support for keeping our community college.
The meeting was chaired by Mary Curnock Cook, the chair of the board of governors at KCC, standing in for interim principal Michele Sutton. We weren’t surprised by the level of support for the College, but she and her colleagues certainly were! We were all packed into the small library room as they clearly didn’t expect such a large turnout, not being in their jobs long, being unfamiliar with North Kensington and likely fed a lot of misinformation regarding the popularity of Wornington by others.
One issue discussed was KCC moving provision of courses to Hortensia Rd, Chelsea. As THINK had pointed out before, this is too lengthy a commute for many of the students who are in work and/or have families. One former student, who now ran her own nursery school, stated that NVQ up to level 3 was required for childcare in her profession and that KCC had since moved all the level 3 courses to the Chelsea site, thus depriving a lot of others of the same opportunities.
Another issue was KCC’s supposed reasons for moving courses over to Chelsea, citing lack of students taking up courses in our area. Well one former lecturer pointed out that many in North Kensington and nearby were unaware of the courses provided at the College and that there was a lack of advertising and promotion of this leading to fewer students enrolling – she described Wornington as “the invisible college”. Most attending had not seen or heard of much of any attempt by those in charge in recent times to promote courses at the Wornington site.
A proposed merger with West London College was also discussed. KCC had already announced this on their website and a local campaigner mentioned that this was in an article published in FE Week the board were very cagey about discussing this – and THINK wondered as did many others , if the real plan was just to move the courses over there and to do away with the Wornington site. This was backed up by another former lecturer who pointed out that staff at Wornington were being made redundant now before any merger had been finalised KCC did admit that the merger was their preferred option even though they are reluctant to discuss this and Mrs Curnock Cook tripped up a bit and said “it could go wrong” so that’s reassuring then.
The meeting did leave us with more questions than answers. We took two positives from the meeting: firstly that KCC did agree to a second and fuller consultation meeting, and secondly, the real level of enthusiasm and support on behalf of our local community to save our College. THINK believe that Wornington College has to stay as a local community college in North Kensington and that in light of the recent disaster at Grenfell Tower and the managed decline of both the social housing and local facilities in our area that we need it now more than ever to provide opportunities and positivity in the local area. We will be posting more on this issue, campaigning more and also will of course be going along to the next meeting. And we will tell the KCC board, we will not have our College and our prospects taken away by those who have nothing to do with the best interests of our community. Be warned – this isn’t over.
Here is the Channel 4 News article on Wornington College: