Stop the Lambeth College sell off

Posted: August 25, 2013 by rabidleftwinger in Uncategorized
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Placards 2
UCU at Lambeth College have recently issued this press release regarding the proposed sell off of Brixton Campus

The Brixton Centre of Lambeth College of Further Education has been providing excellent, essential education for over 25 years. The Brixton centre specialises in courses for young people who need an opportunity to re-engage with education; for students with learning difficulties and disabilities; and for immigrants and those living here who need to improve their English language skills.

These three areas of education are vital for the local community and for the borough. There are now 1m unemployed 16-24 year olds in the UK, and 60% of young black men in the UK are unemployed. Following the summer riots of 2011, reduced council funding for children’s and young people’s services, the removal of EMA, the closure of local Connexions services, and the unprecedented high unemployment figures for 16-24 years olds, it is more important than ever before that the Brixton centre provides education opportunities and promotes inclusion for young and dis-engaged people in Brixton.

In a multi-cultural borough like Lambeth where around 150 different languages are spoken, the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses at Brixton provide a lifeline for thousands of local residents and their families. There are waiting lists of hundreds for the ESOL courses at Brixton, where some students have been waiting for as long as 2 years to get on a course.

Lambeth College ESOL protestThe disabled are among the hardest hit by the government and local council’s austerity agenda. The Brixton centre provides courses which are educational, promote independent living and most importantly offer a safe and welcoming environment for students with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties (LLDD), many of whom are severely disabled. Relocating classes for disabled students to community venues will mean the loss of specialist equipment and facilities and a significant decrease in quality and safety.

UCU believes that the decision by the current management of Lambeth College to sell off the Brixton Centre of the college to private developers will have a detrimental effect on the lives of the students who attend these courses and on educational opportunities for the borough.

The sell-off has been justified because of unused space at the centre. Yet there are lengthy waiting lists for ESOL courses due to the lack of classroom space available. Members of staff have been not been given suitable office space while some cannot get an office at all and others are being packed into already cramped staff rooms.

The current management say the college is in deficit and needs to sell the premises to make some money. Yet the same management has put the college further into debt in order to build a new street complex at the Clapham Centre. This not only increases the deficit but has tied us into additional interest repayments for future years.

Single ESOL personUCU believes that selling off the Brixton Centre is not a strategy for growth but will reduce the provision in these 3 vital areas of education. In the current climate of youth unemployment, rising costs of living and attacks on those with lower incomes, UCU believes that it is a potentially dangerous step to remove Further Education provision from the heart of Lambeth Borough.

The college should be investing in maintaining and expanding provision at Brixton to ensure that our most vulnerable students are not excluded from the college’s plan for our community’s education and that Lambeth College can continue to provide a lifeline to the increasing number of people who are looking to education for a way out of poverty, unemployment and disengagement.

  1. Ann Brown says:

    Parents this is the time to take action and don’t leave it to other.