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Vision West Nottinghamshire College

Vision West Nottinghamshire College
Derby Road

NG18 5BH

TypeFurther Education College
Established1928 as a Technical College
Local authorityNottinghamshire
SpecialistESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
Department for Education URN130777 Tables
Chair of the Corporation BoardSean Lyons
Principal & Chief ExecutiveAndrew Cropley[1]
Vice Principal: Communications, Engagement and Student ExperienceLouise Knott[1]
Age14 to 65
Enrolmentabout 26,000 full and part-time[2]

Vision West Nottinghamshire College is the trading name of West Nottinghamshire College, a further education college having two main campuses in Mansfield, with smaller sites at nearby Sutton in Ashfield and Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England.[3]

The main college campus is the Derby Road campus on the south edge of Mansfield; the Chesterfield Road campus is in Mansfield town centre. There are other sites and further affiliated outreach venues in the Mansfield and Ashfield area and the largely urban corridor along the M1 motorway route between the counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.[4]

The College of Further Education was formed in the 1970s[3] by combining elements of an old Technical College dating back to 1928[5] and adjacent College of Arts dating from 1930[6] in Mansfield town centre with a newer, main Technical College established in 1960 at a large development on former farmland at Derby Road, on the outskirts of Mansfield.[7][4] Both sites remain in use, and the college provides dedicated shuttle buses from the different sites.

The Derby Road Campus in 2005, showing adjacent farmland in the foreground, with Derby Road running directly alongside at the rear of the building


As of 2018, the college's website quoted 26,000 students including apprentices.[2] It offers further education to about 19,000 students in full- and part-time education including courses for 14- to 16-year-olds in collaboration with local schools. The programmes include the majority of 'A' Level courses, access to higher education,[4] and vocational apprenticeships which include bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry, gas fitting, painting and decorating, construction management, driving passenger vehicles, forklift truck driving and railway engineering.[8] A variety of community and adult courses is also provided across the local area. The college has a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) status for engineering, specialised construction, logistics and care.[4] A 2008 Ofsted report accorded the school Grade 1 (outstanding) on all inspection points,[4] but at the 2012 inspection the college ratings lowered from Outstanding to good overall with some satisfactory areas and some inadequate.[9]

Former Technical and Art College is now Mansfield and Ashfield Sixth Form College, Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield

Name changes

After opening as a newly built Technical College in 1960,[7] the Derby Road site became locally known as Derby Road Tech. West Nottinghamshire College of Further Education was founded in 1976 as the result of a merger of West Nottinghamshire Technical College[10] and Mansfield College of Art (sometimes called College of Arts),[11] previously Mansfield School of Arts.[12]

A change in the law – the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 – allowed colleges to become Incorporated and run semi-autonomously, in this case becoming the Corporation of West Nottinghamshire College,[13] with finances changing from local authority control to that of the Further Education Funding Council in April 1993.[14]

The college renamed itself Vision West Notts in September 2011.[15] Shortly after, however, the college adopted its current trading name of Vision West Nottinghamshire College.

The formal title is West Nottinghamshire College, as cited in the Ofsted report of June 2012,[4][13] although it is often referred to as 'West Notts College'.[3]


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Shuttle buses waiting for students to embark in Mansfield town centre

As the largest campus, Derby Road offers a wide range of courses and facilities to university-level. It is also home to a 150-seat theatre, fine dining restaurant and hair and beauty salon and spa. It is also home to the Vision University Centre which provides Higher Education and professional qualifications.

The Construction Centre at Kirkby-in-Ashfield is a specialist facility providing a training environment for construction students.

The Engineering Innovation Centre at Sutton-in-Ashfield is a specialist hub for students of mechanical and electrical engineering and motor vehicle maintenance at various levels

Vision University Centre

A £6.5 million dedicated new building on the Derby Road site was constructed in 2016 to better-enable higher education provision. It was part-funded by a D2N2 grant of £2.6 million.[16][17][18]

A collaboration with Nottingham Trent University has enabled the College to offer foundation degree courses in several academic, health and technological sectors.[19]

Vision Studio School

First mooted in 2012,[20] in 2013 the college announced a new studio school based at the Chesterfield Road site,[21][22] to provide education for 300 year 10 to year 13 pupils (ages 14 to 19),[23][24] with a 9-to-5 working day to mirror commercial practices and having a slant towards work placements and training.[20][25] In conjunction with the participation of local businesses and organisations, it was intended to be a stepping stone between education and employment. The school was officially opened in 2014 by Lord Karan Bilimoria,[26] and had three principals until its closure in 2017,[25][27][28] after an Ofsted report criticising its performance as inadequate in all areas except one, and with pupil numbers falling. The trust running the school commented that it was no longer financially viable to keep it open.[29]

Financial crisis

During 2018, the college suffered a major financial shortfall necessitating emergency government loans of £2.1m and termination of 100 staff. Referring to a report by the Further Education Commissioner, government minister Anne Milton described the situation as a "...serious corporate failure...", needing external administration by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). After the resignation of previous Principal Dame Asha Kemkha in October, a new interim Principal and Chief Executive Officer having a background in dealing with struggling colleges was appointed to start in November.[30][31]

The college issued a statement anticipating further losses of up to 78 non-teaching staff in a bid to save £2.7m, and further expects that by 2019-20 its income will have reduced by £21m compared to 2016-17, due to government reforms changing national apprenticeship funding, with payments being made directly to outside training providers instead of through colleges. Previously, the college benefitted by retaining 20% of the total for managing the schemes. The college established a subsidiary company, Vision Apprentices, in 2010 after 12 organisations nationally were picked to each receive a share of £7m government funding to establish an Apprenticeship Training Association, providing long term placements for 2,550 apprentices with local and national companies.[32] The college has confirmed a commitment to retention of existing courses and quality of tuition for the students and apprentices.[33][34][35][36]

In early 2019, the college confirmed that senior staff were no longer issued with corporate credit cards after the former principal was reported to have claimed in excess of £41K expenses over a three-year period.[37][38]

The Inspire and Achieve Foundation

In 2009, college principal Asha Khemka established the Inspire & Achieve Foundation, a registered charity to improve the prospects of young people from regeneration areas such as Mansfield.[39][40]

Dame Asha Khemka, former Principal

Principal Asha Khemka, an OBE since 2009, was awarded a DBE in the New Year Honours list 2014. She was Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College since May 2006, succeeding Di McEvoy-Robinson.[40]

Khemka resigned with immediate effect on 1 October 2018 following a special meeting with the board of governors of the college, which experienced financial difficulties during 2018.[41][42][43] Her salary was reported in 2017 as being the third-highest in the field at £275K,[44] compared to £245K for 2014/15 and £229K paid in 2013/14.[45] FE Week reported that Khemka resigned without accepting a financial payout amounting to £130K.[46]

Royal visit

On 20 February 2009, the college's Construction and Skills Logistics Academy was visited by the Prince of Wales, who unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark his visit.[47]



  1. ^ a b Executive Team, The Corporation, West Nottinghamshire College Group. Retrieved September 2019
  2. ^ a b About the college Retrieved 4 December 2018
  3. ^ a b c [1] Telegraph. Vision West Nottinghamshire College guide. Retrieved 31 December 2013
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ofsted Retrieved 12 October 2010
  5. ^ [2] 'Our Mansfield and Area' website administered by Mansfield District Council Museum Annals of Mansfield – 'Timeline' "24 October 1928. The Mansfield Technical College, Chesterfield Road South, was officially opened by Lord Chelmsford" Retrieved 31 December 2013
  6. ^ [3] 'Our Mansfield and Area' website administered by Mansfield District Council Museum Annals of Mansfield – 'Timeline' "19 November 1930. The Nottinghamshire County School of Art, at the rear of the Technical College, was officially opened by Mr. T. L. K. Edge" Retrieved 31 December 2013
  7. ^ a b [4] 'Our Mansfield and Area' website administered by Mansfield District Council Museum Annals of Mansfield – 'Timeline' "15 November 1960. West Nottinghamshire Technical College, Derby Road, officially opened by Mr. (later Lord) Alfred Robens" Retrieved 31 December 2013
  8. ^ wnc press release Retrieved 12 October 2010
  9. ^ "West Nottinghamshire College inspection 2012" (PDF). OFSTED. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  10. ^ 1973 Mansfield Directory, Street Plan and Guide, published by Linney of Mansfield. p.29 and p.108 West Nottinghamshire Technical College, Derby Road, Mansfield. Principal: Mr R. F. Beaton
  11. ^ 1973 Mansfield Directory, Street Plan and Guide, published by Linney of Mansfield. p.71 College of Arts, Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield. Principal: Mr E. S. Morton
  12. ^ "Students and staff celebrate art school memories", West Nottinghamshire College, 27 June 2014. Accessed 11 January 2015.
  13. ^ a b [5] West Nottinghamshire College. Report and Financial Statements for the period ending 31 July 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2013
  14. ^ [6] 'Our Mansfield and Area' website administered by Mansfield District Council Museum Annals of Mansfield – 'Timeline' "1993, 1 April. West Nottinghamshire College was transferred from local authority control to that of the Further Education Funding Council." Retrieved 26 January 2014
  15. ^ Summers, Nick (23 September 2011). "When FE colleges choose not to call themselves 'colleges'". FE Week. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  16. ^ Counting down days to opening of university. Chad, 7 September 2016, p.20. Accessed 9 January 2022
  17. ^ University Vision realised with D2N2 help D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, 4 November 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2022
  18. ^ University welcomes first students. Chad, 2 November 2016, p.12. Accessed 31 January 2022
  19. ^ NTU in Mansfield West Nottinghamshire College. Retrieved 9 January 2022
  20. ^ a b "West Notts unveils new 'school' plans". Chad, 28 November 2012, p.13. Accessed 13 June 2022
  21. ^ Studio school plans move step closer West Nottinghamshire College, 6 March 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2019
  22. ^ Vision Studio School. Have your say. "The Department for Education has approved Vision Studio School to enter into a pre-opening phase, with the intention that the first studio school for Nottinghamshire will be open from September 2014." Chad, 25 September 2013, p.29. Accessed 28 January 2022
  23. ^ Studio school’s new chief outlines "bold new approach" to learning West Nottinghamshire College About us, 9 September 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2019
  24. ^ Vision Studio School, February 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2019
  25. ^ a b Pioneering new school opens its doors West Nottinghamshire College, 9 September 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2019
  26. ^ School rolls out the red carpet for its official opening. Chad, 26 November 2014, p.45. Accessed 14 July 2021
  27. ^ Minutes of the Board meeting held in the Board Room at the Derby Road site on Thursday 28 January 2016 at 5.00 pm West Nottinghamshire College. "Vision Studio School Principal - following the assessment centre process on 7th January 2016 Chris Hatherall accepted the position of VSS Principal and will commence on 1st March." Retrieved 26 January 2019
  28. ^ 'Inadequate' Mansfield school now facing closure Nottinghamshire Live, 12 July 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2019
  29. ^ Vision Studio School staff in a "state of shock" at closure plans Chad, 13 July 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2019
  30. ^ Interim principal appointed at struggling West Notts College Nottinghamshire Live, 17 October 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018
  31. ^ Struggling West Notts College told there was 'serious corporate failure' Nottinghamshire Live, 2 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018
  32. ^ College Scheme Launch, Chad, Mansfield local newspaper, 31 March 2010, p.11. Accessed 18 December 2018
  33. ^ Up to 78 jobs could be lost as West Nottinghamshire College plans to 'correct finances' Nottinghamshire Live, 30 November 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018
  34. ^ West Nottinghamshire College forced to ask Government for £2m loan amid financial difficulties Nottinghamshire Live, 21 September 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018
  35. ^ Subcontracting changes blamed for West Notts College job cuts FE Week, 16 March 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018
  36. ^ DfE given just 48 hours to rescue high-profile college from cash crisis FE Week, 20 September 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018
  37. ^ West Notts College ends use of corporate credit cards after former principal claimed £40k expenses 12 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  38. ^ College ends use of corporate credit cards after its former principal claimed £40k expenses FE Week, 11 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019
  39. ^ Inspire Achieve Foundation
  40. ^ a b [7] Chad, local newspaper, 31 December 2013 New Years Honour for West Notts chief Retrieved 31 December 2013
  41. ^ High-profile college principal quits after warning over finances TES, 1 October 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018
  42. ^ Dame Asha quits West Notts college amid financial crisis FE Week, 1 October 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018
  43. ^ Financial health notice to improve: Vision West Nottinghamshire College GOV.UK, 17 September 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018
  44. ^ Revealed: the best-paid college leaders in England TES, 21 April 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2018
  45. ^ Exclusive: Principal’s salary doubles to over £330k FE Week, 12 March 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2018
  46. ^ Exclusive: Embattled college boss Dame Asha declines her £130k payout FE Week, 9 November 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2019
  47. ^ Royal visit Retrieved 12 October 2010
  48. ^ Design guru gives lectures at West Notts. Chad, 26 November 2014, p.47. Accessed 14 July 2021
  49. ^ How 3am internet search led to Mansfield man getting job on remote island paradise Nottinghamshire Live, 20 March 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021
  50. ^ Overcoming the odds – from council housing to solicitor advocate The Law Society, 4 May 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021

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Vision West Nottinghamshire College
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