Colleges offer lifeline to beleaguered Newton Rigg students

Two colleges are hoping to sustain land-based education in Cumbria
Two colleges are hoping to sustain land-based education in Cumbria

Two Cumbrian colleges are currently in talks to offer a lifeline to students at Newton Rigg which faces permanent closure this year.

Aspects of Myerscough College and Ullswater Community College's school provision could be extended to provide agriculture and animal management programmes.

Ullswater is the biggest feeder high school for land-based education to the Newton Rigg campus, offering Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) programmes in Animal Studies and Agriculture.

Extending this offer into the sixth form could provide an essential lifeline to allow land-based education to continue, both colleges say.

Newton Rigg College is set to close for good after two last-ditch attempts to keep the 125-year-old agriculture college open failed earlier this week.

The Further Education Commissioner's (FEC) strategic review concluded that it had been unable to identify an organisation to continue delivering land based education at the site.

But local MP Neil Hudson said he wanted to assure the local student community that there was still hope for the continuity of educational provision in Penrith.

"I am pleased that Myerscough College and Ullswater Community College have agreed to come together and work with local stakeholders to secure local educational provision in Cumbria.

"This offers a lifeline for the community while we all work together to secure the farms and campus for a new longer-term Newton Rigg College entity,” he said.

Alison Robinson, Principal of Myerscough College, said she wanted to see land-based education flourish in Cumbria.

"We believe that this continuity of provision will provide clarity for new students and a number of students progressing with their studies."

Discussions on the proposal will continue in the 'coming weeks and months' between Myerscough College, Ullswater Community College and key partners in the region.