Kirklees College is in financial trouble and faces having to make cuts.

The Department for Education has stepped in and college chiefs have been put on notice by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA).

The EFSA says it has assessed the college as having “inadequate financial health.”

The college has applied for a EFSA bail out and has until January to come up with a new spending plan.

It has not yet said if any jobs will be under threat.

An official Financial Notice to Improve was issued by the ESFA on November 7, requiring college leaders to come up with a financial recovery plan and meet with government officials on a monthly basis.

A statement from Kirklees College claimed cuts to its funding alongside long-term debts had made its finances unsustainable.

The college has spent big in recent years, creating a £74m campus at Chapel Hill while also plunging several million into new facilities at two sites in Dewsbury.

A new college is due to be built on the former Safeway supermarket site next to Lidl in Bradford Road, Dewsbury, along with conversion of the landmark Pioneer House, a Victorian former Co-op building, which was subject to compulsory purchase by Kirklees Council.
The site of the former Safeways supermarket at Dewsbury

In a statement, Kirklees College said: “Last year, Kirklees College was impacted upon very badly by further reductions in funding, combined with increasing pension costs.

“The college has a long-term debt level which is higher than the norm due to investment in its estate in 2010, and has managed this very well over years of continued funding cuts until last year, when the cumulative effect became too great.

“College senior managers recognised the impact of this on its financial position and have been working proactively with the ESFA on a proposal for funding support – but this has not been approved in its current form.

“The college now needs to make substantial savings as part of a formal recovery plan.

“As a result of its financial position, the ESFA has published a Notice to Improve to Kirklees College. This is in line with the Department for Education’s published Intervention Policy.

“The college’s aim is to continue to develop and deliver its offer of technical and professional education for the communities and businesses of Kirklees and is confident that the implementation of the recovery plan will ensure that the college is sustainable into the future.”

Marie Gilluley, principal at Kirklees College

Principal Marie Gilluley added: “The senior team, supported by the governing body, are currently working on the formal recovery plan which will be shared with the ESFA in January 2018.

“We will ensure that the steps being proposed address the required improvements and are in the best interests of the college and its communities as well as ensuring the long-term stability of the high quality provision of the college.”

The financial notice is not related to teaching standards.

Kirklees College was rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted at its last inspection and its apprenticeship results are in the top five in the country.