Every now and then, you come across something that just makes you shake your head in absolute amazement.

And this week I have had one of those moments thanks to Warrington and Vale Royal College.

Let me just refresh your memories.

After the merger of Mid Cheshire College and Warrington Collegiate, the new Warrington and Vale Royal College was left with three main centres – one in Warrington, one in Winsford and one in Hartford.

Staff and students at the main Hartford campus started to become a little jumpy when courses were suddenly shifted away from Northwich to Warrington and their worst fears were confirmed when the much-loved Hartford site was closed down.

The effect of his was to leave Northwich without any further education provision.

Which brings us neatly on to the present time.

Yesterday, the College’s Board of Corporation men to discuss its ‘key priorities’ for 2018 to 2020 and asked ‘key stakeholders for feedback about the colleges revised key priorities for the period’.

Obviously the good people at Warrington and Vale Royal College are either lacking self-awareness or do not have anything approaching a sense of irony.

According to the 16-point mission statement the college’s vision is: “To become bigger, stronger and better for Warrington, Vale Royal and Cheshire.

“Defining our own educational character in the best interests of local learners, key stakeholders and economic growth.

“Shaping the new college as an effective and strategically significant learning organisation in the Further Education sector.”

I will be very interested to see how the new college will become bigger, stronger and better for Northwich when it doesn’t even have a site in the town.

That may be a question higher education students in Northwich might also be asking, especially when they read the ‘core value’ which says:

We put our learners and customers first – prioritising learners and their learning and progress, delighting our customers.

One can’t help but ask if Northwich learners are delighted to not have a campus in town and if they feel they have been ‘put first’ by the college.

I would guess not.

But if there are any students or potential students out there hoping against hope that Hartford may be resurrected at some point in the future, think again.

If you pick your way through the somewhat dense and impenetrable language of the college’s manifesto, you finally reach item 16.

And that point is very clear: The disposal of the Hartford campus. (I wonder just how much a prime piece of real estate in Hartford is worth.)

To be fair to the college, it is planning a 'feasibility study' for a new engineering and advanced manufacturing centre in Winsford and an ‘estates strategy’ over the longer term that 'takes into account the aspirations for Barons Quay'.

But frankly, I’m not holding my breath.

Looks like further education students in Northwich are going to have to travel out of town for the foreseeable future.

Just how, I wonder, does that fit in with 'Defining our own educational character in the best interests of local learners'.

I suppose that might work unless you are a 'local learner' in Northwich.

  • Apropos of nothing in particular, I happened to be at the Makers Market in Didsbury on Sunday when two beautifully turned out 20-something women were walking past one of the stalls.

You have to put this in the context of how yuppie and up-market the south Manchester glitterati think they are when one of the women turned to her friend and uttered the immortal words: "Oh look at those arancini – aren't they divine."

It was beyond parody.