A Birmingham catering college facing closure after having its funding axed has pledged to take legal action against the Department for Education (DfE).
The Kajans Hospitality and Catering Studio, in Whitehead Road, Aston, was told it would no longer be supported by Government funds, even though school chiefs claim they have hit targets on pupil recruitment.
A legal fighting fund has been launched at a meeting of parents, staff, governors and community leaders to support a judicial review and put the funding cut on hold.
Angry parents and supporters have also been urged to write to Prime Minister David Cameron, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Schools Minister Lord Nash demanding they reverse the decision.
Community activist Desmond Jaddoo said: "There is a lot of support for the school in the area, the young people of Aston and Handsworth need a school like this. If the Government does not listen there needs to be judicial review of this decision."
Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood said: "The DfE's decision to close Kajans Hospitality and Catering Studio College before it has had even a year to bed itself in is deeply disappointing.
"I recently wrote to the Department of Education and asked it to reconsider the closure plans but so far it has refused to do so. I am in close contact with the council over this – I know they are working with the head and with the governors to see what comes next.
"They are also planning for the worst – making sure that current pupils have somewhere to go if the DfE does not change its mind".
Kajans was among the first wave of new studio colleges, a type of vocational free school for 14-18 year olds, to open last September.
Alongside key GCSEs, it offers specialist training in Caribbean cuisine and catering it has links, through work placements, with businesses like Aston Villa and Marks & Spencer.
It was designed to give young people in an area of high unemployment the skills to take up jobs in Birmingham's booming hospitality sector.
But by April just five pupils had signed up to start courses in September and governors and senior staff were told to improve.
A new principal, Kevin Hylands was seconded from the outstanding Handsworth Wood Girls' School and his recruitment drive has worked with 31 students ready to start – more than a 25 target set by the DfE.
In the wake of the funding being cut, the city council said it was backing the college and had made representations to government schools minister Lord Nash on its behalf.
A spokesman said: "We wrote to Lord Nash earlier this month regarding his decision to withdraw funding for the studio college and to ask him to reconsider but we have heard in the last few days that the DfE is proceeding as they planned.
"It is regrettable the DfE did not give a further opportunity for Kajans to develop and meet the needs of young people in one of the most deprived communities in the country, despite having a clear development plan and strong partner."
A DfE spokesman declined to comment on the legal action.
In an earlier statement, he said: "We agreed targets for pupil recruitment for September 2014 with the school before it opened in July 2013.
"We have been working extremely closely with them for a number of months and have repeatedly made clear that there were concerns about the school's viability due to low pupil numbers.
"Unfortunately Kajans was unable to recruit enough students in its second year. Lord Nash wrote to the school on June 6 to confirm that it would be closing at the end of the academic year.
"We must ensure that all projects are viable and our focus now must be on the education of existing pupils and ensuring they can continue their studies at alternative schools or colleges in the area from September."
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