Students launch Facebook protest as North Herts College shuts animal management programmes at Hitchin campus

Kerry-Anne O'Connor with Andrew Stephenson, both of whom are on animal management courses at North H

Kerry-Anne O'Connor with Andrew Stephenson, both of whom are on animal management courses at North Herts College - Credit: Archant

The magic students experience when they work with animals on courses at North Herts College is set to end – the college plans to scrap its animal management courses next year.

After reviewing its provision the college, which has campuses in Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth, has decided to remove the Level 3 extended diploma in animal management it runs at its Hitchin campus along with its Level 1 and 2 diplomas in work-based animal care.

Students on the courses have been able to work with animals including a corn snake, tarantulas, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, chinchillas, a scorpion and chipmunks at the college’s own ‘farm’.

Now students have set up a Facebook page to protest against the closure and the fact some students will not be able to progress to higher level courses.

Kerry-Anne O’Connor, 19, begins the final year of her Level 3 course in September. She said: “It’s unfair to the animals which will have to be re-homed, it’s unfair to students who might have to travel a long way to get to other colleges and it’s unfair to some teachers who will lose their jobs.

“We’ve been able to study animal behaviour and learn how to look after them.

“The aim of the Facebook page is to get as many likes as we can to raise awareness of what’s going on.

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“I want other students to be able to have the same opportunity that I have had.”

The college has posted a statement on its website which reads: “We are committed to supporting all current students to complete their programmes with us during 2016/17.

“We will not enrol new students this September.

“We are working with all current students, and those prospective new students who have expressed interest in animal management programmes, to help them think about their options and make the best decisions for them.”

The college says it is in discussion with partners to re-home the animals.

To view the protest page, visit Facebook and search for ‘saying no to the nhc’.