Burnley’s £10m. University Technical College is to close at the end of August, just two years after its much-vaunted opening.
The Burnley Express revealed on Friday that there were grave fears for the long-term survival of the college, which have now sadly proved well-founded.
Unfortunately although we have made every attempt to try to find an alternative solution, the board agreed that closure was the only available option due to low student numbers.Rod Dubrow-Marshall, Trust Board member
The college was seen as a flagship education centre which would create a new wave of much needed engineering young talent in the area, but dwindling student numbers have resulted in its premature closure.
The shock news will come as a blow to employers and parents in the town who saw the Trafalgar Street college as a new way of fostering technical skills in young people.
Parents are now also faced with the arduous task of finding new schools for their children.
The Visions Learning Trust provided employer-led technical training at the college for 14-to-19-year-olds aimed at developing the skills required by employers in the engineering, advanced manufacturing and construction industries.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, gave it the royal seal of approval when he opened the institution in March, 2014, but governors have now admitted they could not attract enough students to make it financially viable.
A spokesman for the Visions Learning Trust confirmed that the Board of Governors announced it will close at the end of the academic year.
The decision comes as UTC Lancashire has struggled to recruit the number of students necessary to secure future financial viability.
Rod Dubrow-Marshall, Trust Board member, said: “The announcement to close UTC Lancashire is hugely disappointing to the Trust, senior leadership team and all those who have worked so hard to give students the opportunity to pursue a technical education.
“Unfortunately although we have made every attempt to try to find an alternative solution, the board agreed that closure was the only available option due to low student numbers.
“The wellbeing and success of students remains our highest priority and we hope by announcing this news promptly following the decision we can give students, parents, carers and staff the maximum time possible to make alternative plans for September.”
The college was also an integral part of the multi million pound “On the Banks” development in Burnley’s historic Weavers’ Triangle.
See Friday’s Express for more reaction to the shock news.