23rd Oct, 2018

REVEALED: More than 100 students left in limbo after cancellation of courses at Solihull academy

Felix Nobes 9th Aug, 2018

MORE than 100 students have been left in limbo after a sudden cancellation of all post-16 vocational courses at a Solihull academy.

K2 Learning, managed by Tudor Grange Academies Trust (TGAT), sent a letter to 108 families telling them its courses have been axed.

It supported students who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or had been excluded from mainstream education.

Staff members at K2 Learning say, due to the popularity of its courses, it was expecting to enrol about 90 more students in the coming months.

Jane McMahon, of Wharf Lane, Solihull, received the news of course cancellations less than a week after being told her daughter had been accepted to continue with her place on a hair and beauty course.

Jane said she had struggled for years to find an educational environment which understood her daughter’s special needs and described K2 as a ‘breath of fresh air’.

Her daughter started at K2 around Christmas and Jane said she had seen massive improvements in her happiness and learning performance.

K2 provided a range of pre-apprenticeship and short courses including construction, childcare and IT to prepare young people for employment.

K2 was formerly part of CTC Kingshurst Academy (CTC) but it – and therefore K2 – merged with TGAT, on Dingle Lane, on August 1.

It offered alternate education for key stage four (aged 16-19) students – including around 30 young people with some form of SEND, K2 says.

A letter sent to parents on July 23 states: “The governing body at CTC has taken the difficult decision not to enrol students onto K2 courses from September as we were not able to secure funding for these courses when CTC transfers into TGAT.

“We are very sorry that as a direct result of this decision, we are not able to offer places at K2 from September.”

The letter went on to say K2 has been in touch with Solihull and Birmingham councils and staff would be available throughout the summer to discuss alternative courses.

Jane said: “For this to land on my door step on the very first day of the school holidays is beyond words. My daughter has nowhere to go.

“Who would make this decision? Who would enrol these students last week and then on the first day of summer tell them they haven’t got a place anymore.”

As a result of losing its funding, it is believed K2 will cease to exist.

Staff members at K2 say they have made individual calls to every student affected.

Alan Jones, K2’s director of business, finance and human resources, apologised on behalf of K2, which he said was always committed to its ideals of putting misunderstood children first.

He added the learning provider was a growing and successful former wing of CTC on Cooks Lane, Kingshurst.

Mr Jones said staff members had no idea it was about to lose funding and that it was ‘beyond their control’.

All 18 staff members at K2 could lose their jobs while the 12 qualified teachers could become teaching assistants at TGAT, K2 says.

Parents have been told they can find alternative provision at Solihull College or at learning providers in Birmingham.

TGAT said: “K2 Learning provision, which we know has provided an excellent service to the community over the past few years, is a provision that TGAT wanted to remain open.

“We were committed to the transfer of CTC into the trust in time for the start of the new academic year, but we were not able to secure funding for K2 as part of the transfer in this timescale.”

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