I am extremely disappointed that South Staffordshire College has announced it is closing the Cannock Campus. Cannock Chase needs a local further education presence to ensure that younger generation can get a good education and the best start in life.
The College has stated that they are trying to maintain a presence in Cannock town centre and they are looking to enter into a partnership with Cannock Chase District Council which will see provision remain in Cannock. I will support the college in any way I can to ensure that a financially viable solution can be found to ensure they remain in the centre of Cannock and I will be writing to the District Council asking that they do the same.
As an independent body the college board has decided that the Cannock Campus is no longer viable and is looking to consolidate its offer into more specialist centres, as part of their other campuses. I am aware that a significant number of local students go to Walsall College and this is one of the reasons South Staffordshire College and Walsall College were in discussions about merging, but this has not been successful.
I am pleased that South Staffordshire College have assured me that they will be providing transport to the other campuses for existing students, and this summer’s new intake, for the remainder of their courses and they are continuing to proceed with their retail training facility at the Mill Green Designer Outlet Village. The Retail Training Facility is a significant offer for Cannock Chase and will see the college partner up with businesses to develop a retail apprenticeship and training offer.
I am aware that the site has some state of the art technology and digital infrastructure and we need to ensure that any plans for the site make the most of this.
I have met with the college principal and raised a number of concerns including provision for existing students and will continue to push for an offer that meets the need of local students.
The statement from South Staffordshire College can be found here - http://www.southstaffs.ac.uk/about-us/cannock-campus-the-green/.