‘Relief’ as Suffolk New College students are told they can finish A-levels

Suffolk New College

Suffolk New College - Credit: Archant

Suffolk New College students are “overjoyed” they will be able to finish their A-level courses after a decision was taken to continue the final year of their programmes.

Senior staff made the announcement to students on Friday after it was revealed earlier this month the college’s sixth form would be closing.

At that time it was not clear whether current AS students, in their first year of the two-year A-level programme, would be able to study their final year from September at the college.

Students feared they would have to find courses at other colleges and sixth forms elsewhere in Ipswich. But speaking after a meeting on Friday, Mary Gleave, Suffolk New College associate principal, said: “Current students who meet the requirements will be able to carry on here with their A2s.

“There will be no new AS students but we have committed to supporting the students. Previously it had not been formalised how the support would be delivered if by us or in partnership with another college or school. We have had a conversation and we believe the best option is for us to develop the study programme.”

Questioned about how many staff would lose their jobs from the A-level department she said for the “majority” there would be no change – with a “small number” of teachers affected.

Quaid Combstock, 18, an AS student who studies government and politics, sociology and communications and cultural studies, said: “We are very happy, there’s a lot of relief around. Some people have been upset to the point of tears before so it’s very good, definitely no complaints from us.

“We are overjoyed that we can stay here for another year.

Last week the college announced that Viv Gillespie would take over in the summer from long-standing principal Dave Muller. Ms Gillespie currently works as principal of South Worcestershire College.