Home study courses axed

VITAL education courses which have "changed students' lives" have been axed by a cash-strapped Suffolk college. But bosses at West Suffolk College have moved quickly to reassure mature students that their studies will not be affected by cuts to all GCSE and A level home study programmes.

VITAL education courses which have "changed students' lives" have been axed by a cash-strapped Suffolk college.

But bosses at West Suffolk College have moved quickly to reassure mature students that their studies will not be affected by cuts to all GCSE and A level home study programmes.

The decision, likely to impact on about 300 students, was taken because of changes to funding priorities from the Learning and Skills Council.

But tutors have slammed the proposals claiming they were not consulted and had requests for the decision to be explained ignored.


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In a newsletter from the college's home study department, students were said to be concerned and angered by the cutbacks.

And lecturer Jane Mosedale said the closure of the college's study at home programme had happened "very suddenly and totally unexpectedly".

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She said: "This programme offered flexible studying - mainly for mature students for GCSE and A levels – and indeed was the only way many students could study for these subjects.

"I have been a teacher on the programme for over ten years and I know that it has changed students' lives.

"For many people - women with young children at home, young people who have been bullied at school – it's been the only way that these opportunities would have been possible."

The courses are aimed at students who study from home, receiving guidance from tutors at the college by phone or email.

Although admitting some students would have to complete their courses at other distance learning sites, assistant principal Martyn Wagner said he was not envisaging too many problems.

"There will not be any further learning in GCSEs and A levels but we are referring students to distance learning providers and we will be offering alternative courses," Mr Wagner said.

"We have to make decisions how we prioritise funding we receive and this is one area we can no longer afford.

"Our students won't be disadvantaged as they can continue their distance learning with another provider.

"We have had to take this decision in light of the funding situation and we will be offering tutors other work where appropriate."

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