Photo of house

Northern College update 

Northern College, the only adult residential college in the North, supports adults to re-enter education to progress, gain employment or make a career change through immersive residential learning and wrap-around support. We have excellent achievement rates and are rated Outstanding by Ofsted. 

We are working with partners to rebuild communities post Covid-19 and support the economy to recover and grow. These priorities are set out in our strategic plan ‘2025 Ambition’. Our residential adult education programme and wrap-around support has never been so vital to adults. 

Many students describe their period of short intensive residential study at Northern College as life changing.  

  • “My experience at Northern College residential college for adults was life changing. I came from working class family struggling in Liverpool with zero qualifications, but that all changed. I’m a deputy manager now.”  
  • “I left school with nothing and was a teenage mum. Thanks to Northern College I now have a degree, a Masters, and a fantastic career.”    

We are currently managing some changes to how residential adult education is funded and wanted to update you about what this means for the college. 

First and foremost, at Northern College everything remains business as usual. We are continuing to deliver our new strategic plan ‘2025 Ambition’, recruiting and delivering courses on campus, creating an exciting new curriculum, enhancing our support for students and re-developing our brand and website to launch over the Summer. No courses we are delivering will be impacted by this work and the quality of our provision will remain the same.  

In February 2021, we welcomed the FE Commissioner team to visit the college to assess how we are managing changes to our financial model in response to current and planned reductions in residential support funding. We are also managing the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on our provision and income for 2020-21.  

The FE Commissioner report highlights the strong college leadership and governance, and excellent student achievement rates which are forecast to continue to align with and exceed the national average. It also acknowledges that Northern College consistently met its AEB student enrolment targets year-on-year before the impact of Covid-19. 

Northern College is continuing to work alongside the FE Commissioner team to ensure that Northern College continues to support adults to return to education to progress, gain employment or retrain for a new career. The college remains committed to supporting adults who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, whilst supporting regional businesses to recover and grow.  

We have already put a series of measures in place to manage residential support funding changes and the devolution of the Adult Education Budget. This includes our 2025 Ambition focused on jobs-based economic recovery, a new college structure, a reduction in operating costs, a new ambitious college curriculum and an employer engagement programme 

Our 2025 Ambition promotes employability, social justice and social mobility, building stronger families and communities, and enabling digital inclusion, all to support recovery and ongoing economic prosperity of the region. This will be made possible through our unique adult learning community, partnership work and long-standing history of successfully engaging adults to re-enter education to progress their careers and transform their lives.  

Our next steps are working with the FE Commissioner team to carry out a Structure and Prospects Appraisal (SPA) to explore the best way to secure a sustainable delivery model for Northern College so that we can continue to support our adult learners. This will explore a wide range of options, from college independence to merger. We will review the findings of this process in July. 

We remain committed to continuing to work with the FE Commissioner team to sustain the important work we do to support adults to re-enter education and use their residential learning experience to transform their lives. We also remain committed to continuing our work with partners to support the economy to recover and grow, in response to Covid-19. These priorities are set out in our ‘2025 Ambition’.” 

All of our courses and provision will continue as normal, as we continue this important work. There are no plans to change any courses we are running. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us.