I returned to Cardinal Newman College to speak to principal Nick Burnham about how the college dealt with the challenges that the pandemic brought, the defunding of BTEC qualifications, the new Specialist Maths School on London Road and the future plans for the College.
We discussed the mental health crisis amongst students which has been exacerbated by the pandemic as there have been numerous disruptions to learning and exams over the last two years.
I have supported the college in their calls to the Department for Education to defund BTEC Qualifications. Removing this vital funding will leave many school leavers without a viable pathway; many people are not ready for the world of work post-16 and choose to go on to further education, however many that currently undertake BTEC qualifications are unlikely to meet the higher entry requirements for the new T-levels. Similarly those same students will not go into apprenticeships so there will be a huge lack of options for young people in the future.
The college will work in partnership with Lancaster University to open a School of Mathematics (LUSoM) based on London Road which will open in September 2022 and provide A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Computer Sciences. I understand that this will be the first purpose-built specialist Maths School in the country with a 400 student capacity.