Protest Over College Plans To Axe A Levels

27 April 2011, 13:17 | Updated: 27 April 2011, 13:20

A single mum from Dorset has been telling Heart why she's furious her local college is going to stop teaching A levels.

Weymouth College say they need to make the changes from September due to a drop big in student numbers.

Abbi Taylor, who’s also co presisident of the College’s students union, went there after having her daughter and says being a mature student makes a big difference to her and other mums:

“As a mature student as well as a mother, Weymouth College was my only option. I would not be able to afford to travel to Bournemouth everyday to gain the qualifications I need to go to university to study either medicine or mathematics. Sadly, due to the colleges' decision, the parents that want to do A-Levels now won't be able to due to the cost of tuition fees as well as travel costs.”

“Adults need FE. Those returning to education in later life for whatever reason may need ‘A’ levels as well as technical & vocational qualifications to develop a career change. Colleges often have a really important outreach role in encouraging ‘hard to reach’ students back into education & they can & do transform lives.

But 16-25 year olds need FE too. Without Weymouth College, students wishing to do  ‘A’ levels in a college environment  would have to travel to Yeovil, Exeter, Dorchester, Bournemouth or Poole. That’s a huge disadvantage if they don’t have a car.”

There was a protest march against the plans earlier, involving over a hundreds students. Those on existing A level courses will be able to finish their courser, but no new A level students will be admitted. The next nearest place offering ‘A’ levels for older students is 40 miles away at Bournemouth University.

A statement from Weymouth College said:

“College Governors were fully aware of the impact that this decision has on the choices for future post-16 learners, including the impact on the small number of post-18 learners that undertake A-levels at college, when making their decision to not take a new AS cohort this September. The significant drop in numbers over the last few years has left the college in a position where it cannot realistically maintain the educational experience for what is now a small A-level cohort. The financial viability of the A-level centre was also considered as part of the decision but this was very much secondary. Learners wishing to study A-levels have, quite simply, chosen to do so elsewhere.”