The High Court is due to hear an application today (May 22) to place Hadlow College into education administration.
Hadlow College, home to the National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NCRW) and a dog-grooming school – the latter which is run in collaboration with the Pet Industry Federation, will be the first to be taken through the new college insolvency regime.
This is an exceptional case under new legislation which has never been used before, reports the FE Week.
The trustees of the Pet Charity, which runs the reptile rehoming centre, says it has sought clarification from the college regarding the impact of this announcement.
A spokesman said: “The college has informed us that it will continue to operate as normal, and there is no suggestion that this decision will impact its immediate future, or that of the NCRW. The National Centre for Reptile Welfare will continue to operate as normal to receive and rehome animals and we will continue to remain in close contact with the college as the situation develops.”
The centre provides a vital service, rescuing and rehoming reptiles in need across the whole of the UK. Since its opening in August 2018, it has rescued 555 animals, with over 70% of these already rehomed.
Tim Wass MBE, chairman of The Pet Charity, said: “The centre provides a valuable service providing for the care and welfare of the animals it receives. We are naturally concerned about its future in these uncertain times and hope that the current situation does not impact on the long-term viability of this important facility.”
Hadlow College employs 454 staff and has just over 2,000 students studying qualifications across both its further and higher education provision, including apprenticeships.
Investigations into financial irregularities are ongoing.
In the meantime, financial advisory firm BDO has been appointed to oversee the potential sale or transfer of assets within the Hadlow Group – which includes Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College – to neighbouring colleges, reports the FE Week.
A spokesperson for Hadlow College said: “Due to the immediate financial challenges it is facing, it was determined that it was necessary to place Hadlow College into education administration in order to protect the provision of learning for students.”
The college confirmed that company subsidiaries, the onsite secondary school and West Kent and Ashford College are not included in the insolvency application.
The spokesperson continued: “Hadlow College will continue to operate as normal and courses will continue as scheduled. Qualifications will not be affected by this process. College staff will continue to be employed as normal and we envisage no changes to staffing as a result of the appointment, in due course, of education administrators.”