City College Norwich students’ futures in doubt as IT course are axed

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 March 2011

Student Curtis Whiting with his mother Claire at home in Long Stratton.

Student Curtis Whiting with his mother Claire at home in Long Stratton.

Archant © 2011

Students from across Norwich have been left with a question mark over their futures after City College has announced it is to axe all of its information technology courses.

More than 130 students have been forced to decide if they will take a different course at the college or elsewhere or travel to either Great Yarmouth or King’s Lynn. Prospective and current students were told last week that five computing courses, due to start in September, were being withdrawn because too few students were enrolling and succeeding.

Principal Dick Palmer said: “Over the last four years we have seen a sharp drop in student numbers on our computing courses, with numbers falling by more than 50pc. At present we have fewer than 300 students on computing courses.

“Despite our best efforts to turn this situation around, success rates in this area have been consistently below what we expect and this was compounded by lower levels of attendance and retention on these courses and a curriculum that was in some respects falling behind industry requirements.” he added.

William Robson, 17, from Taverham, is currently doing a level two higher diploma in IT at City College. He planned to take the next stage in September. “I was devastated when I was told because that was basically all of my plans cancelled”. he said.

Although the college has signed him up to a graphic design course as an alternative, he said he did not want to do it and has applied to a similar course at the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn.

GCSE student Kurtis Whiting, 16, was expecting to start a level three BTEC diploma in September, but was called into a meeting last Friday where he was told the course was no longer running.

“I found the perfect course at City College”, said the Long Stratton High School student. “I have always been interested in computers. I want to be a technician. That course covers all the stuff we need for it. I was really disappointed.”

He said while he had a back-up plan and is set to start A-levels at City of Norwich School, there were others in the meeting who had been really worried as applications have closed for other colleges and courses.

Beverley Long’s son Jack, 16, was also expecting to start a course in September. The mother from Runhall, near Barnham Broom, said he had been left “disillusioned” by the change and does not know what he will do now.

The college said that out of 132 applicants, 109 had been found alternative courses. Seven are still currently deciding what to do and there are 16 people still to be seen. “All applicants have been offered one-to-one advice and guidance sessions”, said Mr Palmer.

Some staff will lose jobs as a result of the cuts. Students going into the second year of the course will be supported to the end of their studies.

Any computing applicant, student or parent who still has questions or concerns should call the College’s Advice Shop on 01603 773 773.

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