The perfect college … not a student in sight

By Charlotte Hofton

Published on Tuesday, June 03, 2014 - 14:00


The perfect college … not a student in sight

An empty Cowes Enterprise College.


WHAT are we going to do about Cowes Enterprise College? On the gloom scale of catastrophe, it is currently running at about 99 per cent.

Contractual incompetence, leaking roofs, wonky heating systems, a massive repair bill — need I go on?  

At the moment, there’s a lot of head scratching about who should stump up the millions needed if this college is ever going to function properly, with the council diffident about committing themselves to anything. This is unsurprising as they haven’t got any money and they can’t as yet be sure whether the government will help out.

I suppose their proposed new car parking charges might yield enough to fix a few of the college’s skewed doors but they’ll soon seize up again with the rain pouring in from the ramshackle ceilings.

All in all it’s a bit of a poser, although I see somebody has contributed to the CP message board on this story with the bold promise that 'UKIP will rebuild your schools’. As UKIP seem to be utterly omnipotent at the moment, this is, of course, a possibility, though I wouldn’t actually bank on it, particularly not if Romanian or Polish labour skills are required to repair the college. Let’s put that one on hold, shall we?

In the meantime, I think we might benefit from some lateral thinking. How about scrapping any idea of repairing the college and just leave it as it is? We would then have to find some money-making enterprise for which this rubbish building would be suitable. And, lo, I have just the thing. 

A private college has been exposed as offering government-funded places to students who are quite unsuited for academic learning. The London School of Science and Technology (LSST) in Wembley recruits candidates off the street and from Eastern European countries. These plonkers hardly ever show up and at least one lecture has been delivered to a class with no students whatsoever.

One student told The Guardian: "If you want to take the student money and not come in, they [the college] are getting paid, so they don’t give a f***."

Another said: "I get on a plane, I come to London … I stay for a week or two and then I go back home and get my student loan."

The LSST is known as the 'cashpoint college’ and Cowes Enterprise College would seem the perfect place to emulate this scheme. Students don’t turn up so it doesn’t matter about the bungled building, and a lovely load of dosh from the government — LSST has taken £6.5 million in public money in the last three years, so why shouldn’t we?

Dodgy? Well, certainly, but frankly everything about CEC has been dodgy since the start, so let’s carry on the tradition. Anyway, desperate times call for desperate measures, and we can’t afford to be genteel about this one. 

But what, you ask, about the existing students? They will, of course, have to make way for our useless recruits who aren’t actually going to turn up but who will need the building so we can get the income. We will just have to distribute the CEC students around the rest of the schools on the Island. 

There are quite a few spare places in our primary schools and as exam results indicate a fair level of illiteracy among IW students, our less able pupils could usefully go back to basics in these establishments. The rest of them will just have to squeeze in somehow.

We could use part of the money from our cashpoint college to buy some outbuildings, perhaps from an upmarket supplier. Look, here we go, there’s something right on our doorstep. Lushington Garden Buildings at Wootton provides an 'extensive range’ that is 'purpose designed and built to order by our craftsmen using the best quality materials’. Don’t know why we didn’t go to them in the first place.

A nice little royal earner

I SEE no reason why my CEC stratagem should not be realised but it is a pity we haven’t had Leicester’s good luck in discovering the skeleton of Richard III in one of their car parks.

The bones were disinterred two years ago and will now be buried in Leicester Cathedral.

As our council could have advised Leicester, they’ve missed a trick on this one. The bones had been there since 1485, which is a grand total of 527 years. In a car park! Given their latest penchant for slapping on parking charges wherever possible, our councillors would be ecstatic.

"527 years’ excess parking, sir? Let’s call it a round 530. What do you mean, you’re not a vehicle? Bodywork, that’s what you are and in our book that’s a car. Shall we send the bill round to Buckingham Palace?"

Leicester have been very dozy and our councillors could perhaps show them how it should be done.

It’s not too late. Let’s send our parking supremo, Cllr Jon Gilbey, to Leicester and he can work out the bill for the monarch’s misdemeanour, obviously also slapping on a consultancy fee and commission. Oh yes, what with that and my CEC plan, things are definitely looking up.

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