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Boarding school interested in buying Stourbridge College

By Richard Guttridge | Stourbridge | News | Published:

Stourbridge College could be re-opened for adult learning courses after it emerged a boarding school is interested in buying the site.

Stourbridge College closed this summer

Old Swinford Hospital School is in discussions about taking over the Hagley Road building, which was closed by its financially-stricken owner this summer.

Dudley, Halesowen and King Edward's colleges could then all come together to provide courses for adults, under the plans to secure a future for education at the campus.

The decision by Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) to close the Hagley Road site sparked protests in the town and saw students uprooted to Dudley and Halesowen. It came only a few years after BMet invested heavily into modernising the campus.

Stourbridge MP Margot James said although the plans did not make up for the loss of the college she was pleased it appeared an education offer would be salvaged for the building.

She revealed the state boarding school based on Heath Lane had entered discussions with BMet about buying part of the site.

Headmaster Paul Kilbride said "like other stakeholders we're interested in discussions about the continued development of education in Stourbridge".

Dudley College confirmed it had held discussions about a possible link-up but said nothing had been agreed.

Ms James said: "We don't yet have a firm position but all the interested parties are working towards continuing provision for vocational training, particularly adult learning, out of the Hagley Road site.

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"I understand BMet has got to sell the site but I'm pushing very hard to ensure there is continued provision on some of the site.

"One of the potential buyers in Old Swinford Hospital School who are keen to accommodate that. Dudley, Halesowen and King Edward's colleges are interested in combining to provide skills training and I think the principal of BMet is very warm to the idea."

Ms James said the deal would bring a boost for Stourbridge but added: "I also continue to be extremely sorry that it's come to this.

"We are salvaging something of value but I'm not going to pretend it's as good as having a college that has been in my constituency for over 100 years."

A BMet spokeswoman said: "BMet is overseeing the sale of the site and is actively exploring options to see if the Hagley Road campus can continue to be used for educational purposes."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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