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."