A-level courses not immune to squeeze on college budgets

STUDENTS have hit out at college bosses as A level courses are cut because of a funding squeeze.

Havant College is axing four A-level courses because of a cash shortage and a lack of student interest.

A level music and performance studies will come to an end this summer, while A level dance and music technology will finish next summer.

Three teaching posts are now likely to go.

There are only six students on the performance studies course and four studying music.

They are unhappy about the courses being axed.

Letters from the college were sent to parents in early October warning about the course cuts.

But some students say they've only recently heard about it and now they'll have to go somewhere else to continue their music studies.

Sam Brown, 16, and Justin Kwok, 17, both have ambitions to try for the Royal Academy of Music.

They said when they joined Havant College in September they expected to do both A-levels years at Havant.

Justin, 17, from Bognor Regis, West Sussex, who plays the piano and violin, said: 'This may affect my chances with the Royal Academy.

'I'm looking to go to Chichester College now, but I think they have different exam boards so I don't know if I'll have to repeat the year.'

Guitar-playing Sam, 16, also from Bognor, said: 'I'm very disappointed.

'I thought we were going to be here for two years.'

Budget figures released yesterday for 2010/11 do show increases for many local colleges and universities.

But they say rising inflation costs mean budgets are smaller in real terms.

Havant College principal, John McDougall, who has also axed many adult leisure courses, said he had no choice but to cut courses.

He added: 'We're not happy about having to cancel courses.

'But this is a natural impact to a reduction in funding.

'Even if the budget for next year matched this year, incremental costs for staff and rises in VAT and inflation would mean we would need to find 200,000 more for next year to teach the same number of students with the same number of staff.'

In contrast, college principals at South Downs, Portsmouth and St Vincent say they will have more A-level courses to meet demand.

Universities 2010/11 2009/10 % Difference

Portsmouth 62.6m 63m -0.6%

Chichester 12.9m 12.3m +5%

FE colleges 2010/11 2009/10 % Difference

Chichester 574,000 551,000 +0.5%

Fareham 197,000 157,000 +19.2 %

Highbury 906,000 860,000 +5.3%

South Downs 432,000 406,000 +6.3%

Note: These figures are for grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Figures for Havant, St Vincent and Portsmouth colleges were unavailable


Music students Sam Brown, 16, left,and Justin Kwok, 17, at the gateway to Havant College where the music course that they had been on has now been cancelled

Picture: Malcolm Wells (100777-3585)

A-level courses not immune to squeeze on college budgets

Four courses to go at Havant

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