The RNN Group’s Dinnington Campus (part of Rotherham College) will close this summer as part of wider plans to develop curriculum at other campuses and put the organisation on a strong financial footing.
Courses, and the majority of staff, will move to Rotherham College’s Town Centre Campus in Rotherham, North Notts College in Worksop and Dearne Valley College in Wath-upon-Dearne from September 2020.
This week, the Group has written to Dinnington Campus staff, learners and parents and carers, informing them that the campus will close by the end of July 2020, and advising that it will do everything it can to support them with the transition and move.
The Group’s governing body made the decision on April 29th 2020 following the conclusion of a formal consultation process with staff and the recognised trade unions.
The process involved 122 staff at the Dinnington Campus – equivalent to 96 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs. It started on January 29th 2020 and was extended until March 22nd 2020. Currently, 26 staff remain at risk, equivalent to 19 FTE jobs.
Jason Austin, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, RNN Group, said: “We understand the strength of feeling for the Dinnington Campus. However, we have had to take difficult decisions to ensure that the RNN Group is on a secure and sustainable financial footing and well positioned for the future.”
He explained: “We will do everything we can to support our learners and staff with the transition and move. Although the number of staff at risk is significantly less than anticipated, any job losses are regrettable – especially during this challenging time with Covid-19. We are involved in early discussions about the future utilisation of the Dinnington buildings, which could potentially save some of the roles that remain at risk.”
The decision to close the Dinnington Campus follows a wider review of the Group’s entire estate, which aims to release funding from the sale of land and property to re-invest in the development of some new curriculum and facilities at other campuses.
The estate review found that the Dinnington Campus, on Doe Quarry Lane, which is part of Rotherham College, is under-utilised: 30% is mothballed, which is costly to maintain.
Approximately 575 learners are studying 38 courses this academic year at the campus – 10% are located in Dinnington, with the majority travelling from the wider area, although the organisation has moved to remote learning since the emergence of Covid-19.
The majority, 480 learners, are completing one or two-year courses or apprenticeships, which finish this summer. Around 55 full time learners were due to progress to the next academic year 2020/21 at the Dinnington Campus.
The Group is advising learners of progression opportunities at its other college campuses and will provide more details on curriculum timetables and individual support plans regarding travel arrangements soon. Another 40 students are studying short courses.
Curriculum currently offered at the Dinnington Campus includes animal care and management, construction, countryside management and horticulture, foundation learning, health science, motor vehicle and access to higher education courses.
In terms of distances from Dinnington, Rotherham College’s Town Centre Campus is 10 miles away, North Notts College is 7 miles away and Dearne Valley College is 13 miles away.