Letter: Harrogate College - We need to unlock our funds

Harrogate College principal Debra Forsythe-Conroy
Harrogate College principal Debra Forsythe-Conroy
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The article last week reporting the decision of Harrogate Borough Council to refuse the planning application for our surplus land at Hookstone Road included a number of inaccuracies (stated and discussed during the planning committee meeting) which I would appreciate being able to correct.

Harrogate College already offers a wide range of courses including higher education. These courses include HNC/Ds, foundation degrees, BA (Hons) and masters degrees, which can be taught on a full or part time basis.

In fact our current offer is likely to grow even more as we introduce a range of new titles for 2017 including biological sciences and hospitality management to name just a few.

There seems to be a general misunderstanding about the nature of further and higher education study for today’s students. Full time students now spend less than half the week and even less (depending upon their GCSE results) studying at the college.

As we expand our cohort of full and part time students, there is no requirement for additional buildings to accommodate the increase. Instead it requires a modern IT infrastructure that will enable students to access learning remotely. Furthermore this will open up opportunities for those potential students living in rural communities.

The college will also invest in a bespoke transport offer which will enable students from across the rurality to study.

Moreover, extra investment in developing additional further and higher education courses will provide students with more opportunities to continue their studies here in Harrogate.

This is precisely what our investment strategy aims to deliver but this can only happen if we are able to unlock funds that are tied up within our estate.

We will continue to do a fantastic job for our students, the wider community and be a college that everybody in Harrogate can be proud of.

Debra Forsythe-Conroy

Principal, Harrogate College