The COVID-19 virus and lockdown is having a massive impact on everyone’s lives, including how we work and teach, and how our students learn.  In an exclusive interview with Tes, published at the end of last week, our Chief Executive Roy O’Shaughnessy explained how the outbreak has galvanised Capital City College Group to face its financial challenges and how we are tackling the unique teaching and learning challenges presented by the lockdown.

In the interview, Roy talks about the stresses of leading a £130 million-turnover college group and explains why he feels that the Group was well-placed to tackle the impact of coronavirus.

We’ve reproduced part of the interview below. For the whole story, read it in Tes magazine.

Despite Covid-19, budgets are on track, says CCCG boss

In early March, Roy O’Shaughnessy, chief executive of Capital City College Group (CCCG), told Tes that 2020 was going to be the group’s toughest year yet.

That was before the true impact of coronavirus on our education system was fully realised – the fall-out has challenged college leaders and staff across the world in a myriad of ways.

But CCCG had been facing huge challenges for months before the virus outbreak. In December 2019, the college group revealed that it was facing a deficit of almost £10 million, instead of the £750,000 surplus it had originally budgeted for in 2018-19. At the end of February, Ofsted rated the group as “requires improvement”.

Still, O’Shaughnessy told Tes that he wanted the group to break even by 1 August this year. And while that was already a huge undertaking, it has since become one that may seem impossible under the circumstances.

“In March we were pretty sure we could probably end up within £2.6 million of where we needed to be. I’m very pleased to say that even allowing for Covid-19, the business-as-usual budget has stayed absolutely on track,” says O’Shaughnessy.

The impact of coronavirus on colleges

But the group is estimating “up to £2 million” in coronavirus-related costs this year: colleges have lost money due to the closure of the popular campus restaurants and a loss of funding to deliver apprenticeships. This, O’Shaughnessy says, is being tracked separately to the already existing deficit.

When it comes to the original deficit, the group is on track to deliver on the promises made. But the coronavirus costs will only get greater next year, he says.

“Next year, we anticipate about £6 million in lost income directly due to Covid-19 because of the apprenticeships, restaurants, commercial and international,” O’Shaughnessy explains. “We’re not really seeing things being close to normal until January of next year. There will be a gradual feed back in, but probably the international will only come back in a year this summer.

“But even allowing for that £6 million loss, that is not guaranteed by the government or anything like that, it is really on our own heads. We are still predicting to break even next year, which I think is a massive accomplishment of the staff.”

A three-part plan

The college group is planning to tackle these predicted losses much in the same way that it is recovering the current debt: with a three-part plan…

You can read the full story on the Tes website: https://www.tes.com/news/despite-covid-19-budgets-are-track-says-cccg-boss