Somerset Skills and Learning Centre closes after government funding cuts

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 December 2017

The Somerset Skills and Learning centre in Burnham. Picture: Google

The Somerset Skills and Learning centre in Burnham. Picture: Google

Google

Burnham-on-Sea’s Somerset Skills and Learning Centre (SS&L) has closed down following huge Government funding cuts.

The Mercury reported in September the learning and traineeship service, in Princess Street, had its funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) reduced from £3.5million to £111,000.

The decision faced strong opposition, including from MP James Heappey, which meant the cuts were scaled back and a lifeline emergency fund of more than £2million was given to the centre the following month.

MORE: Somerset Skills and Learning Centre receives emergency government funding.

SS&L chief executive, Susie Simon-Norris, said at the time: “We’re relieved the ESFA has been able to find some additional funding, however, we need to remember this is a transitional sum for this academic year.

“We still don’t think the Government realises that by reducing our funding Somerset’s community misses out on vital community education.

“We will need to address the shortfall in funding this year, but also prepare for future years.”

However, the centre was one of six under threat of closure across the country, and around 50 staff are in discussions over their redundancies.

MORE: Government cuts threaten Somerset with ‘terrible blow’

Despite the closure, SS&L is using external venues to continue to deliver its courses locally, with Burnham Library and the Princess Theatre agreeing to host classes.

Director of curriculum at SS&L, Kathryn Baker, said: “We’re delighted these two venues have agreed to host our courses and we are now finalising plans to deliver English classes in the library and maths classes at the Princess Theatre.

“We are currently in negotiations across all areas where we have had to close our own centres to work with external venues to continue to deliver our courses and apprenticeship training.

“We have been overwhelmed with the support from local communities who have benefited from our training and education and we are doing our best to ensure we can continue to provide them with opportunities to gain qualifications in maths, English, childcare, support teaching, health and social care and computing and digital skills.”

More from Weston Mercury

Yesterday, 20:00

The Original Rude Boy will be heading to Bristol this weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:01

Local punk band The Run Up will open for Irish folk punk legends Flogging Molly when the Fireball-Fuelling the Fire tour hits the O2 Academy Bristol, next month.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Award-winning drama The Madness Of George III will be broadcast live to cinemas, in National Theatre Live’s first ever broadcast from Nottingham Playhouse on Tuesday.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

Social media users are calling for staff parking charges to be scrapped at Weston General Hospital after it was revealed employees forked out almost £150,000 to park their vehicles.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

A charity ice skating session raised hundreds of pounds for Weston Foodbank.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

An old school building which is used for nature education and connects people with one of the area’s finest beauty spots will be flogged by the local authority.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:24

Mini Christmas stockings and festive trees are now on sale at Weston Hospicecare.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 12:00

Plans to address shortcomings in special needs education provisions have been approved by a Government watchdog, which previously raised ‘significant concerns’ over services run in the district.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

A Weston business owner is ‘proud’ after being named among Britain’s best small shops.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:48

The following cases were heard at North Somerset Courthouse from September 24 to October 3.

Read more
In The Dock

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists