Redbridge College joins new federation ahead of funding cuts

Theresa Drowley Principal at Redbridge College

Theresa Drowley Principal at Redbridge College - Credit: Archant

An “exciting” partnership between three east London colleges has been announced ahead of further funding cuts by the government to adult education.

Redbridge, Newham and Tower Hamlets Further Education Colleges are to work as a federation to collaborate on key projects and services.

The news comes after the Association of Colleges (AoC), an organisation which represents 336 colleges across the country, said adult education “will not exist by 2020” if the government continues with cuts.

Redbridge College, in Chadwell Heath Lane, Goodmayes, faces around £8 million alone in funding cuts in September, when the new academic year starts.

Theresa Drowley, the college’s chief executive, said: “To ensure that we have continuity regarding students and their choice we are entering a formal partnership to enable such things as bidding for funding.”

AoC has been told more than 190,000 adult learning places could be lost next year alone.

Health, public services and care and information and communication technology (ICT) could be among the hardest hit courses.

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“This is a national issue,” said Ms Drowley. “But we only heard last week.

“The new of a federation is exciting because it is the colleges taking charge of their own destiny rather than letting it happen to them.”

Ms Drowley revealed the three colleges would have collective resource pool of around £82 million.

The Federation of East London Colleges (FELC) will become the second largest college in the country when it forms at the end of April, Ms Drowley said.

Fears students could struggle to travel between the three colleges have been allayed by the impending Crossrail service, set to be built by 2018.

Ms Drowley, who has been at Redbridge College for 11 years, added she was “not surprised” how quickly the partnership came about.

She said: “We have three determined chief executives who want to ensure that the provisions are in place for the students of the future.”