Lambeth College cancels AS level course
Twenty-five students have been left looking for places to study AS levels at the last minute after Lambeth College axed its course for this year.
A level staff, belonging to UCU (University and College Union), were dismayed by the cancellation and protested today outside the college’s sixth form centre in Clapham.
The affected students were informed they would have to find other courses on Tuesday, less than a week before the start of term.
Principal and Chief Executive Mark Silverman said the college had made the ‘very difficult’ decision not to run an AS level programme this year, adding the A level programme for next year remains under review.
Mr Silverman said in a statement: "We have not been able to attract enough new students to provide a vibrant and stimulating A level programme, which would enable students to progress onto the second year of the programme, and then on to University."
He added: "We have contacted all the 25 young people involved and offered them advice and information on local options or places on equivalent vocational courses within Lambeth College."
The programme for students starting the second year of their A levels this year and vocational courses will go ahead as expected.
A Level staff, who are members of UCU, handed in a statement to the principal today.
The statement said: “We are inevitably dismayed by the cancellation of AS courses; the loss of educational opportunities which this brings to the borough; the potential loss of teaching expertise at this level to the College and of course potential issues of redeployment of staff to other areas and perhaps redundancy.
“We would also argue that the manner of imposition of new entry criteria as well as their inflexible deployment in some, but not all, respects tipped the recruitment figures against us.”
The statement added that new entry requirements were an extremely late measure and did not take into account that only a small amount of students applied immediately after GCSEs.
Linnia Khemdoudi, assistant principal for change and improvement at the college, said they kept the course running for as long as possible and had hoped for a late surge in students.
Ms Khemdoudi said: “It’s about supply and demand. We are very disappointed that we have had to make this decision.”
The decision comes after the college, the borough’s largest education provider, received a dismal rating from Government inspectors earlier this year.
Lambeth College had an overall rating of "inadequate" in its most recent Ofsted inspection – the lowest mark that can be given to a school or further education college.
In the wake of the report, lecturers and managers were served with redundancy notices in April and told they must re-apply for their jobs.
The college, which has seen a sharp decline in student numbers and £9million of government cuts since 2006, has previously defended its record.