Students voice dismay over Adult College of Barking and Dagenham plans

Students fear the Adult College of Barking and Dagenham could close �after it was revealed the building is being considered for a new primary school.

A letter sent to college staff, and seen by the Post, said the building in Fanshawe �Crescent, Dagenham, is one of the council sites which could be transformed into a school to meet the demand for primary places.

A council spokesman �confirmed that the �closure is a possibility, but added “all options are on the table and this is just one of them”.

He said that if the college were to become a school courses would be re-located to other venues, including the Barking Learning Centre and children’s centres.

Students �expressed their anger at the news.

Pensioner Eddie Kiff, who has taken various courses over past eight years, said: “I understand they need primary school places, but closing the Adult College would be a terrible move. It offers courses Barking and Dagenham College doesn’t, and the staff are fantastic.

“And moving the courses to various sites is a bad idea.

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“The facilities probably wouldn’t be as good, and �having them at different sites is not practical.

“I think less people would go and some of the courses would end up closing.”

Mr Kiff says a petition has been started and students are planning to write to their local councillor.

He added that staff at the college were also concerned over its future.

Another student, Lisa, 30, of Chadwell Heath, said: “The college has helped me get in to business administration.

“I really don’t think it’s good that they are thinking of turning in to a primary school.

“It would be such a shame if it happened.”

Bunmi, 37, of Dagenham, said: “I don’t think its right. Many people benefit from the college, me included.

“I will probably have to travel too far it shuts, and I have children.”

May, 62, Dagenham, said: “I don’t want it to close. It’s a good college. I’ve learnt so much here and it’s helped me a lot.

“But if it’s got to close, it’s got to close. There’s not much I can do about it.”

The council spokesman said the council was doing all it could to meet the “unprecedented demand for school places”.

“This includes asking the government for more money while considering other �options such as diverting money meant for other things and converting existing council offices into schools.

“Barking and Dagenham has a good adult college and we intend to continue to �provide quality adult education.

“At this stage no decision has been taken on the future of the college and staff have been written to and meetings arranged with the director of children’s services to address any concerns they may have.”