The head of the largest college in the county has reassured Year 11 students across Furness and South Lakeland that their place at college is safe.
Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren has spoken out after GCSE exams were cancelled and says no-one will lose their chosen programme of study.
Mr Wren said in the light of developments nationally yesterday the college had decided to guarantee students’ places on courses of their choice across both the Channelside and Rating Lane sixth form campuses in Barrow.
“We have received a number of enquiries from concerned pupils. We know they have been working hard to get the best grades they can in their GCSEs at school and secure a college place.
“Our message to them is clear that whether you have already applied to study at the Channelside campus or Rating Lane sixth form campus, or are planning to do so, you are guaranteed a place on the course of your choice. If you haven’t already, you will shortly be receiving a formal offer letter from the college.
“When you start at college in September, you will work with your tutors to look at your predicted grades, your actual grades as determined by the new methodology in the absence of your exams, and your progress on the course over the first few weeks.
“We will then ensure that the course is right for you and suggest alternatives at college for the very small number of students who need to transfer to a more suitable course.”
Furness College, which is the biggest provider of education and skills training in Cumbria, will close tomorrow (Friday 20th March) at 5pm with face-to-face teaching suspended across both the Channelside and Rating Lane campuses, and its other sites, in line with Government advice.
However, staff will continue to teach using the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and students can access their work on this platform.
Mr Wren urged students, who are on programmes ranging from A-levels and BTECs to GCSEs and degree apprenticeships, to continue with their study programme and work and learn from home.
He said tutors will advise students about the work they are expected to complete and may also arrange video-conferences, group phone chats or email workshops.
“As of yet there is no clarity over how grades will be calculated, however work you continue to do may make an essential contribution to your grades. We are awaiting information on this from the Department for Education,” he said.
The college is setting up a help hub at the Channelside campus to ensure that vulnerable students still have access to face-to-face support from a member of student services, pastoral or inclusion team. They will also be able to answer urgent questions about bursaries and meals. For opening times, check the website www.furness.ac.uk