Harrogate College, a part of Hull College Group will be amongst the first selected further education (FE) colleges nationally to directly take in school pupils at the age of 14 from September 2013. It is one of 283 FE colleges around the country granted the new permission for the first time. The move is intended to improve the availability of technical or vocational education for children at key stage four.
The landmark decision was announced by the Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock, in a letter to members of the 14-16 College Implementation Group. The Minister outlined that the policy change will ‘ensure the best possible provision for young people that meets their needs’ and said that ‘in some cases, that means enrolling them in FE colleges full-time from the age of 14’.
The Minister also listed the criteria that colleges must meet to recruit 14 year olds: colleges must be rated as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory with improving results’, as well as having a dedicated 14-16 area within the College.
Under the new initiative students will still study GCSEs or an equivalent Key Stage 4 qualification in core subject areas, including English and Maths, but will also have the opportunity to explore other pathways, including vocational and work-based qualifications.
Gary Warke, Hull College Group Chief Executive Designate, and member of the national 14-16 College Implementation Group, said:
We’re delighted that the Minister for Skills Matthew Hancock has made the landmark decision to allow full-time recruitment from age 14. The decision will ensure young people in the Harrogate area have access to the best possible educational provision and the freedom to pursue a pathway which is right for them.
Harrogate College is proud to be among the first Colleges to be given the green light to recruit from age 14. We look forward to working closely with the Department for Education over the coming months and to admitting our first full-time 14- and 15-year-old students this September.
Strict guidelines over which colleges can apply to admit younger pupils are in place. Those granted permission had to meet criteria, including an Ofsted rating of Outstanding, Good, or Satisfactory with improving results. Colleges were also obligated to provide a dedicated on-site area for 14-16 students, and to put in place separate leadership for the age group. An Ofsted inspection will also be carried out within two years of the 14 to 16 centres opening.