Askham Bryan College confirms it will quit Newton Rigg in 2021

Askham Bryan College has confirmed it will no longer provide education from its Newton Rigg campus in Cumbria from July 2021. However, a second review is under way to try to find a new owner for the site.

The college’s governing body made its final decision on Monday (20 July) after the conclusion of a consultation process with Newton Rigg staff and trade unions.

News that the college is set to close emerged in May, after an initial Further Education Commissioner (FEC) review found the site – which forms part of the wider Askham Bryan portfolio of educational establishments – was not financially viable.

See also: Potential lifeline for Newton Rigg as review announced

Askham Bryan principal Tim Whitaker said: “We understand the strength of feeling for Newton Rigg. This has been a very difficult decision to make and the prospect of future job losses is regrettable.

“However, we have no other option given the demographic and recruitment challenges and financial losses that we have faced, which we have shared previously. We are doing everything we can to support our Newton Rigg staff and students during these challenging times.”

Student recruitment and enrolment, and courses from September 2020 to July 2021, are continuing as planned. Newton Rigg staff will remain in post until next summer.

The college is still accepting applications for this September, and will continue to communicate with current and prospective students on a range of progression options beyond July 2021.

New owner?

The separate process to try to find a new owner for the site was announced in June and does not affect Askham Bryan governing body’s final decision.

The Newton Rigg Strategic Review is different to the earlier Newton Rigg Review, also co-ordinated by the FEC team, which ran from March 2020 until May 2020 and focused on educational provision at Newton Rigg campus and in the wider area.

The FEC team, part of the Department for Education, is co-ordinating expressions of interest from potential new owners – including those with an interest in providing continued education – which will be assessed against set criteria.

Expressions of interest must be submitted to the FEC team by the end of August 2020.

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