Tyne & Wear

South Tyneside College to scrap A-level provision

South Tyneside College is scrapping A-Level provision because of a big fall in student numbers.

The 150-year-old South Shields college, best known for its marine school, said it would be concentrating on offering vocational qualifications.

Currently just 41 out of 1,400 students are studying A-levels. In 2009 the figure was almost 300.

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) said the college's decision was "tragic" for the borough.

The college said it hoped to redeploy 17 lecturing staff affected by the move.

'Progressive and challenging'

School leavers in the borough who want to take A-levels will now have to compete for places at three other sixth form sites or travel to neighbouring Newcastle, Gateshead or Sunderland.

A college spokeswoman said: "We've looked at the numbers coming this year and in previous years and the applications for A-level have declined substantially.

"As part of a review, we are developing a progressive and challenging new science curriculum, which will include BTEC diplomas to provide career routes into this growth subject area.

"All our students are being given every possible support.

"Our A-Level lecturers have been informed, as has the University and College Union.

"We are looking for redeployment opportunities within the college for those lecturers affected and the union has said that it will work closely with us to help achieve this."

A spokesman for the UCU said: "These are the courses that will get students into university.

"It is a tragedy for the borough, the college, students and staff."

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