Cambridgeshire college withdraws its horticulture courses

A Cambridgeshire land-based college has withdrawn all its non-apprentice horticulture courses despite a Facebook campaign by students.

The College of West Anglia's Cambridge campus offered courses including the National Diploma and RHS certificate, but from September only horticulture students halfway through two-year programmes will continue their studies.

The college faces more than £4m in Government funding cuts in 2013-14 and is reducing its salary budget by £900,000.

Marketing and student services head Paul O'Shea said "cost-saving measures" meant the end of full and part-time horticulture programmes with low recruitment. But current level 3 students will be able to complete the second year of their course at the campus in the 2013-14 academic year.

The college will also continue to offer apprenticeship programmes in horticulture.

The college was formerly called Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture & Horticulture and merged with Norfolk College of Arts & Technology in 1998.

Insitute of Horticulture president Leigh Morris said other further education and higher education colleges do not "value or promote the horticulture curriculum highly enough".

He said using "remote and blended learning" and partnerships with industry to create National Centres of Excellence was the way forward but added: "Perhaps supply has exceeded demand?"

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