'˜Our college is not closing' says principal

A COLLEGE principal has moved to reassure students and staff that his establishment is not under threat of closure '“ as implied in an election leaflet.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 11:52 am
St Vincent College principal Matt Atkinson

Matt Atkinson, principal of St Vincent College in Gosport, said people had been left ‘bemused’ by claims printed in the Labour party candidate for Forton ward Alan Durrant’s flyers.

The leaflet, which has been distributed to Gosport households, says ‘Our local college at risk’ next to the college’s logo.

It then goes on to say: ‘There is a real danger that St Vincent could be forced to close or merge because of government spending cuts.’

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Mr Atkinson said that this was not the case.

‘We don’t know where it has come from,’ he said.

‘It is complete nonsense. We have just had our best Ofsted inspection result and an open evening with double the number of people there than last year. This leaflet is unhelpful.

‘It has not come from us and neither do we recognise what is being described.’

Gosport Labour spokesman Mark Smith said the information was referring to the national situation and to changes brought in by the coalition government, such as the withdrawal of Education Maintenance Allowance and cuts to funding.

He said: ‘The college is doing well but if it were to reduce or merge then it would have great implications for Gosport.

‘I am sorry that he found it unhelpful, but it is a real cause for concern.’

Mr Durrant said: ‘The last thing we wanted to do was upset the college principal but he has himself previously voiced concerns over the cuts made to the education budget.

‘We were merely voicing what are real concerns held by parents, teachers and teaching unions about the cuts in funding that will affect our schools and colleges and therefore affect us all.’