Since the college management announced last July that they intended to sell off all or part of the centre to private developers, Lambeth College UCU and Unison, have led a community campaign to stop the sale and to keep and expand the provision of further education in Brixton. Staff, students and campaigners are upset and angry at this recent development in the college’s plans, which will see a reduction in the Brixton centre from 6000 to 2000 sq feet, with a loss of two thirds of the current number of classrooms, as the site is sold to the government Department of Education (DfE).
Unions disagree that this massive reduction of the Brixton Centre campus is “really good news for the College and the community” as has been presented by the college management in its communication to staff. With 1.2 million young people in Britain out of work and over 60% of young black men unemployed, we believe that it is Further Education provision is essential and must not be reduced. The Brixton Centre provides vital educational opportunities for adults with disabilities and learning difficulties, for young people who need to re-engage with education, and for migrants and those with English as a 2nd language (ESOL) who need to learn English to improve their lives.
There has not been consultation with the staff or students in the areas affected by the reduction as to what will happen to the students and the courses in those areas and the college has also said that it cannot rule out staff redundancies. Furthermore, there are many concerns about the decision by the DfE to open a new free school on the campus premises.
The campaign collected over 1000 signatures and organised a successful demonstration and lobby of Lambeth Council on November 20 where the petition was presented to the council meeting. Staff from the college met with local MPs including Chuka Ummuna and Tessa Jowell to raise their concerns and ask for support in protecting and expanding the college’s provision at the Brixton Centre.
We are very disappointed that the college has decided to press on with its plans to sell 70% of the Brixton Centre campus and will continue to campaign alongside college students and the local and wider communities to stop this attack on local further education in Lambeth and to save and expand the provision at the Brixton Centre campus.