Rochdale Sixth Form College gets go ahead

Date published: 05 August 2008

Rochdale’s MP Paul Rowen has welcomed the decision that has given the final go-ahead to the brand new Rochdale Sixth Form College. Paul has campaigned for this for many years and the decision will mean a huge £100 million investment in state of the art facilities for the young people of Rochdale. The submission has now been approved by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Paul said: “This new Sixth Form College will make a real difference to so many young people’s lives in this Borough. It will replace the A-Level provision at Hopwood Hall and we look forward to seeing an end to the ‘brain drain’, where many young people travel outside of the Borough to study. I was contacted in 2005, by a graduate – Saj Suleman who was furious that he had to travel to Oldham for his sixth form education. He quite rightly argued that we should have a decent facility in the centre of Rochdale and that’s where this campaign sprang from. This confirmation is another step towards seeing that dream become a reality.”

The letter addressed to Paul from Bill Rammell MP, the Minister for Lifelong Learning stated, “You will be aware of the proposal to incorporate a new institution, to be known as Rochdale Sixth Form College. I have considered the proposal and am pleased to approve the incorporation of the Corporation of Rochdale Sixth College under section 16 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. An order for the dissolution will be laid before Parliament in due course to bring the proposal into effect on 1 August 2008.”

Paul finished by saying, “I would like to praise Councillor Irene Davidson, the Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families, Terry Piggott, the Director of Education and his team for their tireless efforts that have led to this milestone. This new college, alongside our new schools will really revolutionalise education at all levels in our Borough.”

Rochdale’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Simon Danczuk, welcomed the news, hailing it as a firm commitment to encourage more young people to enter further education or training.

He said: “Today, more young people than ever are entering further education or training and we must continue to support the aspirations of young people so they can get on in life. I’m delighted that Rochdale is now set to get a new Sixth Form college and having this on our doorstep will be a powerful incentive for young people in our town to take up opportunities to improve their skills.

“It is clear that Rochdale needs a sixth form college and special thanks must go to Greater Manchester’s Learning and Skill’s Council for powerfully making the case for more post-16 opportunities in Rochdale following the local area review they conducted in 2004. I am pleased that these recommendations have been accepted and acted on.”

A spokesman for Hopwood Hall College said: "The college will still remain as Hopwood Hall, offering vocational courses and specialising in the delivery of the new diplomas. We will share the St Mary’s Gate site with the Sixth Form to create a state of the art learning quarter in the town centre."

Hopwood Hall is currently waiting for the final stage of its own multi-million pound investment to be rubber stamped. This will see new buildings on the St Mary's Gate site and at the Middleton campus.

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