|K College (South and West Kent College)|
|Type||Further Education, Higher Education|
|Closed||31 July 2014|
|Local authority||Kent County Council|
|Department for Education URN||130727 Tables|
|Interim Principal||Phil Frier|
|Age||16 to 99|
|Patron||Lord Mayhew of Twysden|
K College, also known as South & West Kent College, was an English college of Further Education and Higher Education with facilities across Kent, formed in April 2010, by the merger of South Kent College with West Kent College. In 2014 it was split again, between Hadlow College and East Kent College, with West Kent College being reestablished and the campus in Ashford becoming Ashford College.
The Interim Principal was Phil Frier and the Patron was Lord Mayhew of Twysden.
K College was formed in April 2010 by the merger of South Kent College with West Kent College. The college had campuses in Ashford, Dover, Folkestone, Tonbridge and Royal Tunbridge Wells and at one point had more than 25,000 students. As of March 2013[update], when the decision was taken to split it, the college had approximately 15,000 students and more than 1,100 staff.
The college sustained a large amount of debt, after which the principal, Bill Fearon, and some members of the Board of Governors resigned, and the Skills Funding Agency recommended it be sold. The college received an "inadequate" grading by Ofsted in December 2013, and from 1 August 2014 it was again split into two units:
- Hadlow College Group formally acquired K College Group; it took over the Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells campuses as West Kent College and Ashford campus as Ashford College.
- East Kent College took over Folkestone and Dover.
In July 2014 prior to Hadlow College managing the Ashford, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells campuses, K College announced that there would be up to 127 redundancies of those not transferred under TUPE to East Kent College. However, East Kent College expanded offerings and recruited additional staff for the Folkestone and Dover campuses after the takeover.
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The main campus in Tonbridge taught a large number of A-level and vocational courses including apprenticeships. It also ran teacher training courses, including additional teaching courses on deaf issues and dyslexia, and TUC courses and had a Professional Development Centre. The college also ran a construction-orientated teaching centre based at the Construction Crafts & Engineering Centre on North Farm Industrial Estate in Tunbridge Wells.
The West Kent College Student Association was rebranded as K College Student Union. The main rebrand involved developing a new logo, changing its name and initiating a consultation on its constitution. It consisted of a President, Vice-President, Communications Officer and six Union Officers. These have since split apart to cover each separate 'chain', but retain a similar democratic structure.
Alumni of West Kent College
- Mark Sargeant — chef
- Hazel Crowney — actress, model
- The Countess of Wessex (née Sophie Rhys-Jones)
- Jilly Goolden — TV presenter & wine connoisseur
- Chris Price (1 August 2014). "K College had 'a perfect storm' of financial and leadership issues reveal Hadlow College and East Kent College, who have formally taken over the sites". Kent Online.
- "K College to split Kent campuses after review". BBC News. 14 March 2013.
- Private Eye no 1355 p. 31.
- "K College principal Bill Fearon resigns". BBC News. 9 October 2012.
- Jamie Weir (8 August 2014). "Everything will be oK". Kent News. KOS Media. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014.
- Rebecca Cooney (20 February 2014). "End in sight for K College sale saga". FE Week.
- Jude Burke (31 March 2017). "Ofsted watch: 'Requires improvement' for K College successor". FE Week.
- Jude Burke (12 November 2016). "K College rescuer East Kent College in merger talks with neighbour". FE Week.
- Frank Foster (12 July 2014). "Union up in arms after controversial K College announces 127 further redundancies". Kent & Sussex Courier. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014.
- Kerstin Kühn (1 July 2011). "Mark Sargeant – Talk of the town". The Caterer.
- C. Cromie (12 July 2009). "Ex-Tunbridge Wells schoolgirl now Bollywood beauty". This is Kent. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010.
- "PR girl turns princess". BBC News. 11 June 1999.
- "About Us". Hadlow Alumni. Retrieved 30 January 2018.