The decision over who will take over the running of Newton Rigg College, Penrith — or if it will be closed next year, as proposed by the current operator, York-based Askham Bryan College — is to be delayed by at least two weeks.
News of the possible closure of the college was greeted with dismay by the land-based community and Newton Rigg students past and present.
A recommendation was due to be announced on Friday, following a strategic review by the Further Education Commissioner, who was initially considering proposals put forward by three interested groups.
However, the commissioner’s decision should now be announced to the bidding groups towards the end of the coming week, or possibly later.
It is understood that only two groups remain involved with the process, one of which has not been identified.
The other is Newton Rigg Ltd, based near Kendal, which is made up of a number of prominent figures from the worlds of farming, education and business.
A spokesman for Newton Rigg Ltd said: “We have been keeping in touch with the strategic review team, who are working on the process, and hope to hear their initial views or recommendations on or after 17th December.
“Any final decision from the strategic review team will then need to be ratified by the Department for Education.
“We respect the huge amount of work involved in this important process and are confident that we have clearly outlined our vision for Newton Rigg College’s future and its importance to county and country.
“We are continuing to engage with the community and stakeholder groups and would again like to thank everyone who has reached out to share their insightful letters of support and comments.”