THE GOVERNMENT faces legal action from colleges protesting at instructions to stop enrolling new students because of problems with growth money, writes Harriet Swain.
Solicitors for Newham College of Further Education have written to the Further Education Funding Council and the Department for Education and Employment threatening to take them to judicial review. An estimated six colleges are understood to be considering similar action.
Colleges were told last month that no funding would be available for students recruited after January 28 because the Government was stopping an agreement to pay for unlimited expansion. The DFEE then said it will cover up to Pounds 84 million budgeted for growth this year, although the deadline stands.
Martin Tolhurst, Newham principal and chief executive, said about Pounds 2 million of European grant for the college was now in jeopardy because it was dependent on recruiting the kind of students planned for enrolment later in the year. "What the DFEE and FEFC are saying in effect is that we can only do business for six months of the year."
John Brennan, director of development at the Association of Colleges, said guidance on the issue was urgently needed. A spokesman for the Further Education Funding Council said the council was in the process of preparing such guidance.
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