Pupils ‘shocked’ after Northamptonshire college announces plan to stop teaching A-levels

Tresham College. File picture.

Tresham College. File picture.

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Tresham College is proposing to drop its A-level syllabus from September.

The proposals mean that the college in Windmill Avenue, Kettering, would abandon its traditional sixth form provision, which includes AS and A2 levels, and become a vocational-only college.

There are presently 116 pupils studying 15 different AS and A2 levels at the Kettering campus.

Twenty-two members of teaching staff have also entered consultation over their jobs.

Staff and pupils were told about the consultation on Wednesday following a review in the face of a declining number of applications during the past three years.

One pupil who did not wish to be named said: “This is big shock. I did not expect to be changing colleges in the middle of my A-levels. It’s really disruptive. I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”

Those completing A2 levels - which are the same standard as the traditional full A-level qualification - will sit exams as normal and will be unaffected.

But students now finishing their first year of AS-levels will have to continue their studies elsewhere.

And new students hoping to do traditional AS-levels at the college from September will have to find alternative courses.

A statement from the college said that the proposals follow a “review of the quality of the learning experience for all students,” and are “to ensure that the college’s resources are as responsive as possible to the skills training needs of the area.”

Computing studies will also be affected by the changes.

Tresham principal Stuart Wesselby said: “The decision to see 22 staff at risk of redundancy has not been taken lightly and we have done our best to ensure that there is minimal impact for our existing students.

“Whilst every effort has been made to minimise the impact to staff, the current proposal will ensure that the college’s resources are utilised to provide the most valuable learning experience for each and every one of our students. My priority is to safeguard the future of the college for all of our students and I have had no choice but to review the structure across the college to ensure all departments are working as efficiently as possible.”

All students that have already completed their AS Levels this summer will be counselled by the college to find alternative options to progress. All school leavers who have applied to begin their A-Level study at the college from September have been contacted and advised of the alternative school options or about alternative vocational provision offered by the college.

The college has now begun a consultation period of 30 days with relevant trade unions and all individuals in order to mitigate the effects of these proposals. Tresham bosses say they will look to seek alternative roles for those staff affected where possible and alternative provision for any students will be pursued to minimise any impact they may experience.