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North Kensington Centre steps into the future

Plans were published in December 2020 that point towards an exciting future for teaching and learning at Morley College London’s North Kensington Centre.

This will allow the College to significantly expand its offer from autumn 2022 and open an exciting new chapter in the history of a site that has been a home for education since the 19th Century.

At the heart of the community

As the community around North Kensington continues its recovery from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of June 2017, and begins to tackle the challenging aftermath of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the College recognises the critical importance of education in supporting local residents through high-quality post-16 education and training tailored to learning needs.

Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, said: “Refurbishment of the centre at North Kensington will be an important milestone in the recovery of the College. The College has an important role in providing the North Kensington community with the skills for the future and in supporting the Grenfell recovery strategy. Effective collaborative working over the last two years has been the key to giving the college a strong foundation to move forward, and I am pleased that Morley is engaging with the local community on the refurbishment.”

A new chapter

Education has been part of Wornington Road since 1874: the original Wornington Road School opened in March that year. Though the original building was replaced by the present building in the late 1930s, learning has taken place continuously on site for over 140 years.

Morley College London Principal and CEO Dr. Andrew Gower said: “The renovation of the North Kensington Centre is a significant step on a journey, the destination of which is a thriving college centre, serving the learning needs of people from the local community and beyond. Analysis of learning needs and participation confirms the major role the North Kensington Centre will play in supporting progression in learning and work, with opportunities for vocational education and training tailored to current and future employment in sectors including Business, Information Technology, Health, Education and Science.”

Design

North Kensington Centre Principal Craig Hanlon-Smith said: “The starting point for the design of the new North Kensington Centre is a real desire to have a positive impact on the lives of those who call W10 home. A light, glass-fronted café at the front, a new large multi-use community hall, and space for new state-of-the-art classrooms and studios…these are some of the more visible changes we are proposing, along with new amenities such as an enterprise ‘hub’ and radio studios.”

Open for business

The Centre remains open for business per the Government’s guidelines for education providers during the pandemic, and will do so throughout the renovations too. Subject to planning consent, works will start in the middle of 2021, and we will publish a full plan for sustaining effective teaching and learning during that period of potential disruption in the Spring.

“Given the impact of COVID on people’s livelihood and wellbeing, now is the time for a return to learn,” said Dr. Gower. “At Morley we are wholly committed to supporting people to upskill, to reskill and to enjoy learning, and the plans unveiled today commence a new phase in the journey of the North Kensington Centre. This renovation will enable realisation of the vision, shared by all those who have been involved on this journey, that learning together inspires ambition and enables achievement.”

To find out more

Public consultation on the plans for the exteriors of the North Kensington Centre ended at midday on Friday 11 December 2020, but you can read more about the plans here.

More detail on the full plans will be published in early 2021.

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