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Stourbridge College urged to re-think decision to scrap A-levels

By Richard Guttridge | Stourbridge | Education | Published:

A Black Country college has been urged to re-think a decision to scrap A-levels from September.

Stourbridge College

Stourbridge College’s decision has been described as ‘ill-timed and ill-thought out’ with parents now left with just weeks to make other arrangements for their children who were set to attend the college.

A senior councillor in Stourbridge called the move to axe A-levels from one of the region’s major colleges ‘disappointing’ and said bosses should reconsider the decision.

It has also been claimed that the controversial move will heap more pressure on pupils preparing for GCSEs.

The college, which is run by the Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) and caters for hundreds of students across the Black Country, announced this week A-levels were to be phased out as part of a shift towards more vocational courses.

It means A-levels in core subjects such as maths and English will no longer be offered at the college.

Current A-level students will be allowed to complete their courses but there will be no new starters in September.

Stourbridge councillor Nicolas Barlow, who is also a cabinet member at Dudley Council, said he he was baffled by the decision to stop A-levels, which have been offered at the college for decades.

He said: “I can’t understand the reasoning behind it. They have been providing A-levels for as long as I can remember.

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“The last thing we want is for Stourbridge just to be utilised for a particular set of subjects and people having to travel to other BMet sites.

“It is a bit disappointing they have taken this decision. They need to have a look and have a re-think about the impact it will have on various schools that feed into the Stourbridge area.

“It is a bit ill-timed and perhaps a bit ill-thought through.”

Michael Essom’s 16-year-old son Isaac was due to start A-levels at the college in September. He has been left furious by the decision.

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Mr Essom, 50, from Cradley Heath, said: “We’re trying to look round for somewhere else. A lot of places have already gone - the timing is terrible.

“The exam period is a traumatic time for children as it is without this.”

Gill Coldicott, the head of Stourbridge College, said: “Every prospective student who has applied to start A-levels in September has been notified of the decision and offered access to advice and guidance and information on alternative courses at BMet.

“We will ensure they are supported in their progression and enrolment choices.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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