Rolle's new role but cash an issue

NEWS that the closed Rolle College is likely to re-open as a post 16 educational facility may be the end of one battle and the beginning of another.

NEWS that the closed Rolle College is likely to re-open as a post 16 educational facility may be the end of one battle - and the beginning of another.When the Douglas Avenue campus re-opens, its facilities and capacity will depend on yesterday's budget - and how Government cash is invested in retraining and adult education.While Devon County Council has already pledged �3 million towards purchasing the site and Exmouth Town Council �30,000, the remainder will be footed by the Learning and Skills Council.And, despite speculation that the budget will focus on skills for school-leavers, the LSC has been forced to make drastic cuts in adult education.It does not have enough cash even to fund all the students in priority groups identified by the Government. Access courses for students aged 19 and many college building projects have also stalled because of a lack of cash."If the purchase of the site is agreed, there are hurdles to overcome," admitted Exmouth Community College Governor and East Devon executive member Jill Elson. "There is refurbishment and running costs. Things don't happen without money."Rolle College came onto the open market when the University of Plymouth decided to withdraw from the site. The university campus closed in the middle of last year. East Devon MP Hugo Swire was instrumental in the latest Rolle College deal, organising meetings between college representatives and former education Minister Bill Rammell.Mr Swire even challenged Gordon Brown over the project at Prime Minister's Questions last year - to help solve the "logjam".He said: "We have the dichotomy of post 16 education, with Ed Balls (Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families) saying the Government wants more further education and training - but the pot seems to have run empty."But for now, in a refreshing sign that people of opposing political leanings can work for the common good, governor Ray Davidson said: "Credit should go many people, and Hugo Swire, who has worked tirelessly to bring people together to keep this issue alive. It was a non-political issue, because he helped make it so."This view was backed by governor Ken Turner. "No small measure due to the combined efforts of many people," he added.


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