20 March 2007
Spicer, Luff, Baldwin win guarantees for future of Pershore College.

Sir Michael Spicer (Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire), Peter Luff (Member of Parliament for Mid Worcestershire) and Harriett Baldwin (ConservativeParliamentary Candidate), have received the attached letter from Mr David Cragg, Regional Director (West Midlands) Learning and Skills Council. This follows many weeks of discussions between the three politicians and all the interested parties.

Spicer, Luff and Baldwin today issue the following statement:

"Our primary aims in these extensive negotiations have been to ensure that Pershore College continues to serve the horticulture industry of the Vale of Evesham in particular and of Worcestershire County in general; that it remains physically located at its present site and that it receives sufficient investment in order to meet future challenges. We believe that these objectives are now met by means of the written assurances we have received both from the Learning and Skills Council and from Warwickshire College. We are pleased that, following our representations, the proposed number of Worcestershire Governors has been raised to three and that the local MP will be a member of the consultative forum.

We are confident that Pershore College, retaining its name and, benefiting from its high reputation, will at last face a period of financial stability, something that it has not had in the recent past. In these circumstances, and so long as the Secretary of State for Education, Alan Johnson, confirms his acceptance of the conditions, we support the merger with Warwickshire College, which already has experience of successfully managing a comparable merger to this one."

The following are the 10 commitments made in writing by Warwickshire College and endorsed by the Learning and Skills Council. They are:

1.Keep and promote the name of Pershore.
2.Not sell the campus or asset strip the college site.
3.Invest in the campus, as it has done elsewhere, wherever it has influence.
4.Work with the Learning and Skills Council to ensure financial stability for the merging operations.
5.Provide greater opportunities for students and work with industry to meet their needs for skilled people.
6.Build on and enhance the college's areas of specialism.
7.Aspire for Pershore to be the local, regional, national and international centre for horticulture.
8.Provide a quality service to land-based employers, as has been the case in Warwickshire.
9.Continue to develop and improve relationships with partners and associations.
10.Listen and talk with local industry and businesses in order to develop a college that meets their needs.


Photo: Sir Michael Spicer MP for West Worcestershire, Harriett Baldwin, Peter Luff MP for mid-Worcestershire and Heather Barrett-Mold, Principal of Pershore College