Upset pupils and parents want second year of Suffolk New College mechanic’s course offered

Joseph Reason is angry he cannot continue on a Level Three BTEC mechanics course at Suffolk New Coll

Joseph Reason is angry he cannot continue on a Level Three BTEC mechanics course at Suffolk New College - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Students and parents have voiced anger after conditional places on a mechanic’s college course were cancelled.

Teenagers studying on a BTEC Level 3 Vehicle Technology diploma at Suffolk New College were expecting to continue for a second year in September.

But the college said only five students had passed the course by the deadline of May 1 which meant a second year was unviable.

One of the students is Joseph Reason, 18, from Ipswich. His mum Caroline said her son had been doing well on the course, which he passed, and had “found his passion”.

The 52-year-old said: “My son did one year at sixth form but it wasn’t for him. He found this course and hasn’t looked back. He loves everything the course covers and is doing exceptionally well. Getting distinctions in all his assignments.

“He has also found work two days a week using the skills he is learning, at a garage that services and maintains commercial vehicles. They require him to finish the course completely.

“With this course cancelled he will no longer have all the skills needed to continue his employment or get the points required for university.”

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Student Jack Mallett, 18, from Ipswich, said the college had sent a letter on March 25 offering him a conditional place from September on an extended diploma in vehicle technology following on from this year’s subsidy diploma.

“I was expecting to do a two-year course so I am disappointed by the fact that it has been cut,” he said.

“They have compared us to what happened with students last year who did not progress well, so they have said it’s not worth the financial cost and have stopped the course.”

Mary Gleave, associate principal at the college, said only five students had met the May 1 deadline. In a statement she said: “The student you are referring to [Joseph Reason] is on a one year programme for 2014/15 not a two year programme which we are stopping after the first year.

“Students this year have been on a subsidiary diploma rather than the extended. These are two separate qualifications. The student you are referring to was aware that if he completed the subsidiary by May 1 and that enough other students did and also were interested in the extended then the college would consider offering it next year.

“Unfortunately the target number of 10 on the course was not met, only five met this deadline. This is an unsustainable number for the college to progress onto the extended and the students and their parents/guardians have been aware that there would need to be a minimum number to proceed.”