You can’t stand still in the world of further education.
The environment is constantly evolving, with cuts to funding, changes in priorities and the introduction of new qualifications keeping us constantly on our toes.
At Weston College, we take great pride in our ability to stay ahead of the curve and innovate – making sure our learners benefit from the most up-to-date, learning environment and resources.
The growth of our sixth-form is a prime example.
In recent years Weston College sixth form has grown significantly in student numbers and stature, but we’re not standing still.
We’re incorporating three ground-breaking developments into our sixth-form provision, to increase the student places we currently offer, and equip learners with the skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace.
1. T Level Pilot Centre
Firstly, we’ve been selected alongside 53 other providers across the UK to pilot the new T Level qualification.
T Levels focus on preparing young people for the workplace, and include a 45-day industry placement. Weston College will deliver the Digital (software applications design and development) ‘programme’ from September 2020 – two years before the full roll-out.
T Levels have been described as the biggest overhaul in post-school education for 70 years and, for us to be at the forefront of this roll-out represents a tremendous opportunity for school leavers in Weston and beyond.
2. Career College Status
Secondly, we recently became one of 22 providers to be awarded Career College status.
Career Colleges enable school leavers to combine academic studies with practical learning, and focus on providing skills for industry that have found it difficult to recruit.
‘Weston Career College’ is due to open in September 2019 and will focus on engineering and digital ‘pathways’. Courses will be Level 3 (the equivalent to and A Level) and could include a combination of A Levels and technical qualifications.
The exciting developments will enable the College to provide an extra 1,000 places for 16 to 19-year-olds.
3. Health and Active Living Skills Centre
The third significant development is the £13 million Health and Active Living Skills Centre, which will be based alongside the existing sixth form at the Loxton Road Campus.
This flagship training facility, due to be completed in spring 2019, will bring together our health and social care, sports therapy and active living curricula into one bespoke facility. A state-of-the-art resource that our Sixth Form learners will also benefit from.
The above investment has been made possible by the College match-funding a successful bid for funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.
Its superb facilities – including wet lab, dry lab and six-bed simulation ward – are tailor-made to provide workplace skills, as will the running external clinics, delivered with healthcare partners. It will also include a floodlit all-weather pitch, four-court multi-purpose sports hall and multi-gym, which will all be available to the community.
The College is already one of the most successful sixth forms in the UK, achieving a 99% A Level pass rate year after year, and providing the skills the young people need in the modern workplace.
We offer learners a choice of over 30 A Levels subjects – from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths to Psychology, Philosophy and Photography – all taught by expert teachers at our lively and vibrant Loxton Campus.
The new developments will complement our existing high-quality sixth form provision and, we believe, will create one of the most sophisticated sixth form centres in the UK.
Dr Paul Phillips, CBE, Principal & Chief Executive, Weston College