EXCITING times lie ahead for Gainsborough’s post-16 students who will be able to study higher level qualifications at Trent Valley Academy from September.
In a forward thinking move, TVA will offer three Level 3 BTEC courses in partnership with Lincoln College.
Students can choose from extended diplomas in sport, health and social care or performing arts.
Each course is worth three A-levels and the chance to progress to university or work in any of these fields.
“We have become increasingly concerned at the lack of post-16 opportunities for young people in Gainsborough, especially since the recent removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance combined with increasing cost of travel to Lincoln and Scunthorpe,” said TVA assistant principal (14-19) Mike Hatfield.
“Gainsborough has young people who are not in employment, education or training, and they often drop out of college at 17, not 16, because they can’t afford to travel.”
“Students are looking at spending at least £400 a year on travel to colleges in Lincoln and Scunthorpe, because Gainsborough College is full and Queen Elizabeth’s High School is over subscribed.”
“It seems unfair that Gainsborough students have to travel for two hours or more every day and pay significant amounts of money just to continue their education.”
Mr Hatfield said he wanted the courses to be a ‘top quality addition to the town’.
“We have got this £35 million Academy building with all its facilities, built to accommodate 1,200 people,” he said.
“We are now at about 1,000 and we have the space and the staff to deliver these courses. It’s just the right time.”
Students will be registered with Lincoln college, which has been rated outstanding by Ofsted, but they will still get the pastoral support of a school sixth form.
Entry is open to any student from Gainsborough and the surrounding with a minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and maths.
Students will study 13-14 hours a week, which is classed as a full time course.
But 12 people must enroll on each course for it to run.
Mr Hatfield said: “These courses work for people who are interested in these subject areas and want to pursue careers in these areas.”
“They are challenging courses and students will need to demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment in an interview with the programme manager from Lincoln College.”
He added: “I think this is the start of expanding post-16 education in the town.”
“We are trying to provide a local solution for local people.”
Students and parents are invited to a Post-16 Information Evening on Monday 5th March from 6pm.
After an initial presentation there will be a chance to talk to staff who will deliver individual courses.