Anger as college scraps AS-levels at Leigh campus

The Sixth Form Centre at Leigh Sports Village

The Sixth Form Centre at Leigh Sports Village

First published in News
Last updated

A COLLEGE has decided to no longer take students on for AS-levels at its Leigh campus – but didn’t tell students until they tried to enrol.

More than 80 students turned up at Wigan and Leigh College's Sixth Form Centre after picking up their GCSE results to enrol on the courses they had applied for months before only to be told that the college was no longer running any AS-level courses.

Wigan and Leigh College has cited a low number of applicants as the reason for its decision and will focus instead on vocational courses such as BTECs although current students will be allowed to complete their A-levels at the Leigh Sports Village centre.

A spokesman for the college said: “Wigan and Leigh College has reviewed its AS-level programme at the Sixth Form Centre in Leigh in the light of a very low number of applicants.

"We have taken the decision not to enrol students on to AS-level courses for 2014/15. The number of students on the AS-level programme is projected to fall to such an extent that it is no longer possible to guarantee a quality learning experience for students.

“The college has supported AS applicants to find suitable alternative courses either at Wigan and Leigh College or at other providers.

“There are a range of other courses available at the college’s Sixth Form Centre and they will not be affected by this decision, which is solely in relation to AS-levels.

“Moreover, the college is committed to its Leigh centres and intends to develop new provision there that will meet the needs of local people."

But parents have said they are angry that their children were left to find places at other colleges a week and half before they were due to start.

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “I am so angry at the way they have handled it.

"To not say anything until the day the kids turned up to enrol is disgusting.

“We have managed to get a place at St Mary’s but it is just another service that has gone from Leigh.”

Several parents have also said that their children have since received letters from the college telling them that they missed their enrolment meetings and a place on their course is being held for them.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham has stepped in to the debate and has requested a meeting to discuss his concerns.

"I was taken aback by the college's abrupt decision to end A-level provision in Leigh and have requested an urgent meeting with the chair of governors and principal to discuss my concerns," he said.

"I feel very sorry for the young people across the Leigh area who have worked hard to get good GCSEs and made plans to continue their studies in our town, only to be let down at the minute. They deserved much better than this.

"I will press the college on its future intentions for the Leigh site. They were given a lot of help to build these modern facilities with the specific aim of expanding A-level provision in our town.

"I am clear: I will not accept a situation where young people from Leigh who want to study A-levels should be forced to travel long distances every day to do so. Many will simply not be able to afford it and will drop out of education altogether.

"That is why it is essential that A-level provision is restored at Leigh Sports Village. If Wigan and Leigh College no longer wish to offer it, then they must make way for someone who does."

Comments (2)

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10:00am Thu 28 Aug 14

Manufan1969 says...

Leigh College state that their decision is based on low numbers. This information was available to them months ago when prospective students were interviewed by staff. To wait until enrolment day, which is stressful enough as it is also GCSE result day, to inform students is appalling.

As Andy Burnham points, out the reason for this site was to offer Further Education to the students of Leigh, as there is only one High School that has a 6th Form.

Leaving worried, anxious students (and parents) a week to source an alternative College is ridiculous. Why should they now have to travel further afield, when there is an adequate facility in their hometown.
Leigh College state that their decision is based on low numbers. This information was available to them months ago when prospective students were interviewed by staff. To wait until enrolment day, which is stressful enough as it is also GCSE result day, to inform students is appalling. As Andy Burnham points, out the reason for this site was to offer Further Education to the students of Leigh, as there is only one High School that has a 6th Form. Leaving worried, anxious students (and parents) a week to source an alternative College is ridiculous. Why should they now have to travel further afield, when there is an adequate facility in their hometown. Manufan1969
  • Score: 13

6:55pm Thu 4 Sep 14

sharonpollitt1 says...

I feel that the way Leigh Sixth Form College has run since it aquired the new site has been pretty shoddy anyway. When my son attended for his A Levels just 2 years ago most of his teachers were only offered part time contracts. The canteen facilities were never adequate and this became even more ridiculous when the Railway road campus ceased and their courses were transfered to the Sporrs Village site. It does appear that there was never any really concerted effort by the powers that be to see the college as a long term and viable option for the young people of Leigh. As for the college sending letters to students who did not attend enrolment, on courses which did not exist! It is an absolute comedy. It is little wonder so many young people have felt the need to apply to John Rigby, Winstanley etc over the past few years.
Perhaps the money saved should be transfered to the 3 local high schools to help them provide sixth form provision.
I feel that the way Leigh Sixth Form College has run since it aquired the new site has been pretty shoddy anyway. When my son attended for his A Levels just 2 years ago most of his teachers were only offered part time contracts. The canteen facilities were never adequate and this became even more ridiculous when the Railway road campus ceased and their courses were transfered to the Sporrs Village site. It does appear that there was never any really concerted effort by the powers that be to see the college as a long term and viable option for the young people of Leigh. As for the college sending letters to students who did not attend enrolment, on courses which did not exist! It is an absolute comedy. It is little wonder so many young people have felt the need to apply to John Rigby, Winstanley etc over the past few years. Perhaps the money saved should be transfered to the 3 local high schools to help them provide sixth form provision. sharonpollitt1
  • Score: 0
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