The management team at Lancaster and Morecambe College (LMC) has responded to the challenges the on-going Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the local community, by introducing an innovative curriculum offer for the new academic year.
The College, which earlier this year celebrated being awarded a GOOD Ofsted inspection report, has developed a range of options for year 11 & year 13 pupils who have been left wondering “what next?” after their GCSE, A level & BTec courses were disrupted by the government lockdown this spring. This includes offering a guaranteed interview to all current Year 11 pupils who apply for a course starting in September, as well as increasing the number of apprenticeship & traineeship pathways available.
Iain Parkinson, Director of Curriculum & Innovation at LMC, feels that the increased offer will help those pupils who feel uncertain about their future, especially those who are still undecided as to what they will do in September.
We want to provide opportunities for school leavers to further progress their knowledge and skills during this challenging period. We are aware that for many, the long break in learning since the beginning of lockdown has caused them to rethink their future and we have identified a range of courses that will introduce new learning and opportunities for them to move forward on their chosen pathway.
We are uniquely placed to react, with the best interests of learners and employers at heart, to provide education pathways for all across our broad range of courses.
For current Year 13 pupils, who may be reconsidering whether to go to university this autumn given the current situation, the college has created a unique “One Year Offer”, where they can choose to study an additional level 3 qualification for free; providing specialist, work-related learning across a range of subjects (including Engineering, Creative Digital Media, Public Services, Esports & Animal Management) enhancing their employment prospects and providing extra UCAS points, should they decide to progress into Higher Education in 2021.
LMC student, Jemma Calvert, who has just completed UAL Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, has decided to defer her place at university for a year and will instead continue her studies at the college.
I didn’t feel like this was a good time to go to away to study because of the virus and we don't really know what's going to happen with the universities at present. I still want to go to uni and this option gives me the chance to build up my portfolio and gain more UCAS points, whilst remaining at home. It is only one extra year, after all.
It isn’t just the younger students who will benefit from the innovative curriculum the college is offering. During their inspection visit in March 2020, Ofsted were particularly impressed with the quality of the adult provision at LMC and reported that “adult learners say that they have fallen in love with learning again and their programmes help them to achieve their full potential.” Throughout lockdown, the numbers of adults enrolling onto LMC’s free distance learning courses increased tenfold and this has led to the Employer Engagement team developing a range of new and exciting modules to help support adults who wish to retrain or gain additional qualifications. Part-time, evening classes will also start again in September and the college has introduced new Creative Industries certificates alongside its popular hairdressing, beauty, accountancy and construction courses.
Five months since lockdown began, LMC staff are now planning to welcome learners back onto campus for the new academic year and will be holding a Year 12/13 Advice Day on Friday 14th August and GCSE Results Open Day on Thursday 20th August. Due to social distance guidelines, applicants must pre-register to attend these events; however, there’s no need to wait for the Open Days - students can apply for all courses on-line now and can contact The Hex team via email or telephone for support and advice.
College Principal, Wes Johnson, feels that, despite the challenges the FE sector currently faces, the College is in a strong position to continue to support its learners, local employers and the wider community;
The strength and commitment of the Lancaster & Morecambe College community continues to shine through since our OFSTED inspection, earlier this year. I am proud that, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the College has remained open every day to meet the needs of its most vulnerable students, manufactured masses of PPE for local health and social care providers and, in partnership with Eggcup, has produced over 16,000 meals for the most vulnerable in our community. We look forward to safely welcoming our learners back into college in September as they continue progressing toward their chosen careers.