A senior manager at Newcastle College, one of the first colleges in the country to open its doors to students aged 14-16, has been appointed as chairwoman of the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) new 14-16 Implementation Group.
Liz Kitson, who is director of the college’s School of Access to Learning, will lead the group, which is made up of colleges which are able to recruit 14 to 16-year-olds, or which plan to do so next year.
The group was formed by the AoC to give providers the opportunity to share best practice and support each other with this new initiative that offers an alternative to the traditional school-based route. Newcastle College was one of only seven colleges initially able to recruit 14 to 16-year-olds as full-time students, giving them a wider range of choices, including the chance to gain vocational qualifications alongside GCSEs in core subjects such as maths, English and science.
Liz said: “I am delighted to chair the new 14 to 16 Implementation Group – 14-16 provision in colleges is still very much a new area and those involved with the group are absolutely at the forefront and can share experiences and support to ensure that we are making the right decisions for our 14-16 learners. The AoC played an influential role in helping colleges recruit younger students and its continued support is invaluable.
“It is vital that we give young people a choice when it comes to learning. What we offer is very different to schools. It is a lead-in to vocational qualifications, developed in partnership with employers and delivered in real working environments.”
The programme at Newcastle College offers a wide selection of specialisms, such as construction, engineering, creative technologies, digital skills, sport, health and social care. Vocational subjects are delivered within the college’s industry standard facilities, including working salons and kitchens, TV and music studios, aviation, energy and rail academy.
Students enrolled on 14-16 courses can progress on to vocational or A-Level courses or on to an apprenticeship. Following this there are opportunities for them to progress into employment with partner employers or study a degree or equivalent higher education qualification, either with Newcastle College or elsewhere.