Here you will find information about our skills programme, levels of study, our centres, enrolment and course fees, and support for learners.
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Our programme for 2018 is out now and we welcome your enrolments at our call centre on 0345 600 6400.
The prospectus will be delivered to every Northumberland household.
You can download your free prospectus here.
Our course guide covers wide range of skill areas. Additional course description information can be downloaded below.
Our coaching programme for young people is designed to help them plan for a future that they feel they can cope with and fit into. We can help to:
It is for 16-18 year olds who are not in education, or up to 25 years if you have a special educational need. We hold coaching sessions across Northumberland. Call Michael on 01670 622 112 or 07867 441 942 or email Michael.Holliday@northumberland.gov.uk
This year, at our 12 learning centres across Northumberland, we have brand new courses available including:
ENTRY LEVEL ‘BEGINNERS’
LEVEL 1 ‘BEGINNERS’ OR ‘IMPROVERS’
LEVEL 2 ‘INTERMEDIATE’
LEVEL 3 ‘ADVANCED’
LEVEL 4 ‘HIGHER’
Course fees don’t need to be a barrier to learning. The different costs can seem complicated but there are lots of funding opportunities available to help support your journey.
There are financial bursary schemes for 16-18 year olds and discretionary learner support funds for 19+. Schemes can help with the costs of learning including fees, materials and resources, travel, childcare and other costs.
We try to make our courses as affordable as possible and we receive government funding for many of our courses, making the cost lower for you. Typically, you pay around half the amount of the cost of your course, and the government pays the other half.
Does my course have exam fees?
Exam fees are included in the course fee, unless otherwise stated, for your first attempt at the exam / assessment. Unfortunately we are unable to refund exam fees, including any re-sit exam fees paid. Resits and non-attendance fees for examinations may be charged at the discretion of the service.
What if I can’t afford the course fees?
Our team can offer flexible plans to pay your fees in smaller, regular amounts. We normally offer instalment plans for course fees of £150 or more, but we may consider lower amounts in exceptional circumstances. Please ask to pay by instalments when you enrol. Please note that you are liable to pay a full instalment plan to cover your fees, even if you decide to leave the course early.
Step 1: Choose a course
Look through the course guide and decide which course you would like to enrol on.
Step 2: Which fee to pay?
Check whether you have to pay the standard fee or you are entitled to a free place.
Remember to check you understand the refund policies before enrolling.
Step 3: Enrol with us
Most of our courses are open enrolment. For some of our courses at higher levels you will need to apply for the course and we may need to talk to you about your suitability for the course. If this is the case we will let you know when you contact us to enrol.
You can enrol over the phone for most courses. Please have your course code and Visa / Mastercard card details to hand. At busy times there may be a delay before your call can be taken but we will take your call as quickly as we can.
Our enrolment line is open: Monday to Thursday 08:30 - 17:00 and Friday 08:30 - 16:30.
Please call 0345 600 6400 between these hours to speak to one of our Advisors.
You can enrol by post. Please complete the enrolment form in the brochure or download here for printing at home. Please attach your cheque payment or evidence you are entitled to free fees and send to;
Enrolments: Learning and Skills Service
Northumberland County Council
Northumbria House, Manor Walks
Cramlington, Northumberland, NE23 6UR
You can enrol in person at any of the local centres during opening hours. You can pay credit / debit card, cash or cheque.
What happens after I enrol?
Once you have enrolled that’s it. Just turn up to the first class as detailed in the brochure. We will only contact you if there have been insufficient enrolments for the class to go ahead.
However if you have any questions about your enrolment, please call us and we will be pleased to help.
Some students can have a free place.
THE FOLLOWING LEARNERS ARE ENTITLED TO FREE STUDY:
At the start of the course
Undertaking a Traineeship
If you are enrolling by telephone, we’ll need to see evidence of your benefit before the course starts. If you are enrolling in person, we’ll need to see your evidence when you enrol.
If you have any questions about funding finance or fees please contact Gemma Lee, Finance and Learning Loans Officer on 01670 622105
We have Access to Higher Education Diplomas available in:-
· Health and social care professions
· Nursing and midwifery
· Allied health care
Starting THIS September .
To apply or enquire about Higher Education Diplomas or come along to one of our roadshows
Access to HE Open events:
HEXHAM ADULT LEARNING CENTRE - 2 - 7PM 7 FEB & 17 MAY
MORPETH ADULT LEARNING CENTRE - 2 - 7PM 8 MARCH
ALNWICK ADULT LEARNING CENTRE SCIENCE LAB - 2 - 7PM 18 APRIL & 13 JUNE
PRUDHOE ADULT LEARNING CENTRE SCIENCE LAB 2 - 7PM 8 MARCH & 12 JUNE
ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FREE TASTER WORKSHOPS
If you aren’t sure you are ready for an Access to HE course attend our FREE workshops which will show you what our sessions will be like. You can do one or more workshops to help you decide. Call on 0345 600 6400 to book
ALNWICK ADULT LEARNING CENTRE - SCIENCE LAB
24 Jan Microscopes,cells and tissues
8 Feb Muscles, bones and fitness
21 Feb Heart, lungs and cardiovascular system
7 Mar Brain and nervous system
21 Mar Enzymes and digestion
26 Apr DNA and genetics
PRUDHOE ADULT LEARNING CENTRE - SCIENCE LAB 9.30AM - 1PM
19 Feb Microscopes,cells and tissues
26 Feb Muscles, bones and fitness
5 Mar Heart, lungs and cardiovascular system
12 Mar Brain and nervous system
19 Mar Enzymes and digestion
26 Mar DNA and genetics
You can apply if you’re:
Supported internships are full time programmes. You’ll be studying and undertaking your work placement for at least 3 days a week. There will be 5 elements to your programme.
1. A job related qualification
You’ll be working towards qualifications that will help you get ahead in a career. The programmes are designed to help you get to the next level of study, apprenticeships or employment. We will help you to find the right level to start at.
2. English and maths
You’ll be getting help with English and mathematics if you haven’t already achieved your GCSE’s in English and Maths at grade C or grade 4 or higher. You may undertake functional skills or other approved English and maths qualifications.
3. Work experience
We will work with our local employers to find the right work experience for you. We will help you by travel planning how you will get to your placement, provide you with any clothing or equipment you need, and ensure you are settling in and doing well by visiting you regularly.
Then there are lots of add-ons you can do to make your time with us more exciting and make your CV better and better. You might take up first aid training, learn about safety in your chosen industry, or learn how to maintain a bike or scooter to help you get about.
5. Pastoral care and support
You’ll get a personal coach to help you through the programme. They can arrange extra help and support to help you get the most out of your studies with us. We work with you to design your internship, depending on where you live, which days you want to study and the career or trades you are interested in.
You can start throughout the year. So if you are looking for a place now, or you lose your way in the middle of the year we’re interested in hearing from you.
Not everyone knows what they want to do, or what they think they will enjoy and be good at. We’re here to help you find that out.
We’ll give you a personal coach who’ll sit down with you over a cuppa, and listen to your interests and wishes. We’ll try our best to guide you in the right direction. You may want some of your family members or carer to help you when we meet you.
Our contacts are listed below
ALNWICK, Lindisfarne Road, Alnwick, NE66 1AX, Tel: 01670 623691
AMBLE, Bridge Street, Amble, NE65 0DR, Tel: 01670 623691
ASHINGTON CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING, Freeman Way, Ashington, NE63 0YB, Tel: 01670 623665
ASHINGTON, Wansbeck Workspace, Rotary Parkway, Ashington, NE63 8QZ, Tel: 01670 623894
BEDLINGTON, Jubilee Terrace, Bedlington, NE22 5HB, Tel: 01670 623687
BERWICK, Walkergate, Berwick upon Tweed, TD15 1DB, Tel: 01670 626107
BLYTH, Brunel Building, Blyth, NE24 1LT Tel: 01670 622099
CRAMLINGTON, Northumbria House, Manor Walks, Cramlington, NE23 6UR, Tel: 01670 622104
HALTWHISTLE, Haltwhistle Library, Westgate, Haltwhistle, NE49 0AX, Tel: 01670 623701
HEXHAM, The Gatehouse, Wanless Lane, Hexham, NE46 1BU, Tel: 01670 623701
MORPETH, Cottingwood Lane, Morpeth, NE61 1DN, Tel: 01670 622257
PRUDHOE, Fuse Media Centre, Moor Road, Prudhoe, NE42 5LJ. Tel: 01670 623 689
Learner Support, Safeguarding and Health and Safety
Education Lead for Learner Support
Brian Harrison Brian.Harrison@northumberland.gov.uk, 01670 622100
Emergency out of hours contact: 07800 885 174
Gillian Fox Gillian.Fox@northumberland.gov.uk, 01670 622107
Emergency out of hours contact: 07951 938 385
Ok, so you have started or are thinking about starting one of our courses or programmes and realised that you could do with a little extra help. Don’t be afraid to come and talk to us, we could help to make things easier for you.
If you have a disability, learning difficulty or other particular need we will make any reasonable adjustment to help you access and get the most out of your studies.
We offer extra support through our team of teaching assistants who work in our service. If you think you need extra help for your studies, let us know when you enrol and we will then be able to prepare for you starting your course. If you need support and you have already started classes, the best thing to do is tell your lecturer or the administrator at the centre where you are studying. They will get in touch with the Learner Support team who will work with you and the lecturer to find the best way to help you.
We can help learners with a wide range of support needs like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Asperger’s Syndrome, visual or hearing impairments, physical disability and mental health difficulties. You might also have a medical condition or need help temporarily, for example after an illness or accident.
Our support is broad and tailored to your needs. We may be able to provide you with adapted materials, specialist software and if required we can make special arrangements for exams. This could include laptops, note-taking equipment, digital recorders, screen-reading software and large-print materials. Alternatively we can help through 1-1 support with a teaching assistant or provide access to assistive technology loans. We can also assist with exams and extra time in some circumstances. We will arrange for you to have an assessment with our Educational Psychology team for this.
Sometimes life has a habit of taking us by surprise, and sometimes that can mean we face a tough time. We want to help our learners make the best of life and learning, so we offer support through our qualified BACP counsellors who can offer professional counselling sessions to learners.
This service is designed to support you either short term, or if you have been referred for mental health support through your GP and you are on a waiting list. We can provide you with support until those services start.
To access the service, the best thing to do is tell your lecturer or the administrator at the centre where you are studying.
Counsellors help individuals to deal with problems which are having a negative effect on their learning, traineeship or apprenticeship. We can help you by:
identifying the issues and giving you a chance to talk about and explore the issues in a safe environment
help you plan to deal with the issues where you can
develop self-awareness and a range of life skills
make informed choices about how you can still stay in learning and improve your chances of success
make contact with other services that can help you
help you access other self-help resources
Apprenticeship Mentor Team
The apprenticeship mentor team works across Northumberland ensuring that you are supported in your workplace. There are also specialist mentors in the team who work with learners who have special educational needs or are looked after children. Their role is to ensure you are safe and happy in the workplace, you are meeting the employer’s standards and code of conduct, you are progressing well and that your welfare needs are being met. The team provide individual pastoral support, coaching and mentoring to help you succeed as well as organising extra-curricular activities for apprentices through the various phases of the programme.
Apprenticeship Support & Counselling Service by Remploy
This new free service supports apprentices who are feeling low, upset and struggling to keep up with their apprenticeship. It is completely confidential and run by fully trained professionals with expertise in mental health.
By working in partnership with Access to Work; a Job Centre Plus scheme, Remploy are delivering this service in England to apprentices who are affected by a mental health condition in the workplace.
An expert from Remploy will provide apprentices with personal, emotional wellbeing support and advice for six months, and help individuals cope better so they can concentrate on their apprenticeship. They will help develop a step-by- step support plan to keep apprentices on track and advise on some workplace adjustments.
Full-time learners aged 16 to 18 may be eligible to receive up to £1,200 through our bursary scheme. How much you may be entitled to will depend on your household income and circumstances. There are two tiers of bursary payment:
- A higher rate of a maximum of £1200 per year for vulnerable learners (young people in care, care leavers, young people in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit and disabled young people in receipt of Employment Support Allowance who are also in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments).
- A lower rate of a maximum of £600 per year for other 16-18 year old full time learners
If you are eligible, you are able to spend your grant to help with travel, books, equipment and materials, or anything else that you need along the way. Contact Gemma on 01670 622104 to apply.
If you are a parent under the age of 20 you can get help with your childcare costs through “Care to Learn”. This scheme can help with the cost of childcare and can pay up to £160 a week for each child. The scheme is run nationally by the “Learner Support Service”. You can get an application pack on the scheme from them by calling 0800 121 8989. If you are 20+ looking for help with the costs of childcare, then you can apply to our Adult Discretionary Learner Support Fund below.
Adult Discretionary Learner Support Fund
If you are 19+ and studying one of our qualification programmes you may be eligible for help with a grant to help you to pay for some of the costs of your learning. This might include travel costs, childcare costs, equipment, books, materials or a uniform. It can also occasionally help some students with tuition fees and exam/registration fees. To apply speak to Gemma on 01670 622104 or speak to any member of staff at any of our centres.
Advanced Learning Loans
We are registered with the National Union of Students (NUS) which enables all our students to purchase an NUS card to benefit from a massive range of discounts. You must be 16 or over and studying with us to be eligible. The card is available to students, studying full time or part time. Your course must have started, before you are eligible to purchase an NUS extra card.
Free and friendly maths and English courses are offered in ten sites across Northumberland, from Entry Level to Level 2. These are arranged on a roll-on/roll-off basis so you can join throughout the year and sit your assessments as soon as you are ready. We also offer a free initial assessment. It is essential to be able to attend regularly in order to achieve.
GCSE Maths and English classes are also offered at sites around the county with an annual September start you can sit the exams in the following June. We also offer a free initial assessment. You are expected to attend every week and complete the independent learning set by your lecturers.
You will be able to:
Hot topics are bite-sized pieces of information on health and safety, safeguarding and prevent, equality and diversity, British values and citizenship, and well-being. They are for staff, learners and employers. You can share them.
Why do we use Hot Topics?
We want to:
• keep you up-to-date
• tell you about changes in legislation
• protect you from harm
• promote your health and wellbeing
• voice your rights and responsibilities
• enable you to face change and challenge
• develop your interests
• ensure fairness
• encourage you to look out for one another
• guarantee you know what to do if there is a problem
• widen your knowledge about subjects beyond your experience
• help you to take responsibility for your own safety
• give you confidence to explore sensitive issues
• change hearts and minds and remove prejudice
How do I get Hot Topics?
Hot Topics appear in our newsletters, are on the Hot Topics walls in our centres and held by staff for use in classes, assessments and reviews. They change every month so look out for the new hot topics.
Why are Hot Topics so important?
The hot topics we produce for staff and learners are linked to protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is the responsibility of Learning and Skills Service to proactively promote these Hot Topics each month for the understanding for all of our learners, staff and employers.
For help on any of our hot topics you can contact our Education Leads for Learner Support:
The Learning and Skills Service is committed to ensuring the promotion of equality of opportunity for all members of the learning community. It is a service in which all forms of discriminatory behaviour are challenged; differences between individuals celebrated and generate a culture where all staff and learners are encouraged to achieve their full potential.
The Service is keen to ensure that equality of opportunity underpins all policies, and treating all involved in the service equally. Promoting, celebrating and valuing diversity is at the heart of our core values.
Respect – The service will undertake to ensure all individuals and groups are treated fairly, courteously and with respect. Beliefs, values and religious views will be respected and tolerance encouraged where individuals or groups may have differences.
Excellence and High Aspirations – The service will ensure that all members of the community are encouraged, supported and have equal opportunity to achieve their full potential. Pride will be taken in all achievements, and celebrated annually.
Support – Learners will be given equal access to support in their work or studies. The service will make all reasonable adjustments to ensure individuals are given assistance and help where appropriate.
Inclusion – Diversity is not only valued by the service, but also celebrated and promoted. The service will seek to ensure that individuals understand differences in others and that activities and opportunities are adjusted where appropriate to ensure equality of access for all groups.
Global Citizenship – The service celebrates and promotes understanding of international differences, encouraging all members of the community to develop a better appreciation, tolerance and respect for global issues.
Enthusiasm – We are passionate about the place we work and learn, and will seek to nurture a positive attitude amongst all of the community towards diversity, celebrating and exploring differences and valuing all individuals.
Integrity – All inappropriate behaviour and actions against the spirit of the Equality Policy will be challenged and not tolerated. Learners are expected to act with integrity at all times in recognising and respecting individuals’ differences.
British Values – The Learning and Skills Service believe in the fundamental British Values and their place within our own core values. Fundamental British values are democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
Democracy - A country where equality and freedom is at the centre of who we are. Learners are encouraged to be part of our service democracy by sharing their views and helping to shape the service through learner voice events, focus groups and surveys.
Learners will not be denied access to courses or progression to other courses because of any aspect of their LGBT+ identity. Any LGTB+ learners will receive fair and equal treatment whilst studying at the Learning and Skills service.
The curriculum will be checked to ensure that it does not rely on or reinforce stereotypical assumptions about members of the LGBT+ community and that it does not contain LGBT+ - phobic material.
Learning and Skills will respect the confidentiality of all LGBT+ learners and will not reveal information without prior agreement.
LGBT+ abuse, harassment or bullying (name-calling/derogatory jokes, unacceptable or unwanted behaviour, intrusive questions) is a serious disciplinary offence and will not be tolerated and will be dealt with in line with our anti-bullying procedure.
Learning and Skills Service will provide a supportive environment for learners who wish their LGTB+ identity to be known. However, it is the right of the individual to choose whether they wish to be open about their gender identity or sexuality. To ‘out’ someone without their permission is a form of harassment.
All anti-LGBT+ propaganda, in the form of written materials, graffiti, music or speeches will not be tolerated. The Learning and Skills Service undertakes to remove any such propaganda whenever it appears on the premises.
We also work alongside Stonewalls priorities which are:
To empower individuals - We will support individuals to work out how they can make a difference for LGBT people at work, home and in their communities. We will support them, and the people they reach, to be themselves and achieve their full potential.
To transform institutions - Institutions have power and influence. We will reach more people and have a greater impact by transforming institutions and by embedding an inclusive and accepting culture and the benefits they bring all employees, service users and members of the community.
To change hearts and minds - We will go deeper into our communities than ever before to reach people who we may not have had a relationship with in the past, including people from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as rural communities. We will work with these communities, and partners and allies close to these communities, to demonstrate the strengths that our differences can bring, and to let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they’re not alone.
To change laws - We will continue to campaign and lobby government to change laws that do not ensure equality for LGBT people, or laws that do not go far enough. Despite good progress for lesbian, gay and bisexual people under the law, trans people still do not have the right legal framework to enable them to be themselves.
If you are LGBT and want to be put in touch with other LGBT residents, let us know and we can refer you to local social and support groups.
The Learning and Skills Service is totally committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all of our learners and staff and we expect all learners and staff to share this commitment. We are fully committed to ensuring that consistent effective safeguarding procedures are in place to support all who use our service.
All concerns are passed through the members of staff who are trained as "Designated Safeguarding and Prevent Officers" in our service.
There are a number of ways you can report concerns about yourself or someone else.
1) You can report to your class lecturer or any member of staff at our centres
2) You can also contact our Education Leads for Learner Support, who are our Designated Safeguarding Officers:
Brian Harrison Brian.Harrison@northumberland.gov.uk
01670 622100 Emergency out of hours contact: 07800885174
Gillian Fox Gillian.Fox@northumberland.gov.uk
01670 622107 Emergency out of hours contact: 07951938385
3) You can report via our online Safeguarding portal “Tootoot”
Sometimes people simply aren't confident enough to speak to someone face-to-face about their concerns, for fear of being identified or worrying about perhaps making matters worse. To reduce the stigma attached to having a voice, learners can now use our online safeguarding platform and mobile device app to report confidentially to us.
Learners can access TootToot at any time of day and can report their concerns, or on behalf of their peers using any web-enabled device. Learners with iPhones and iPads can even download the TootToot app to use on the move.
We have also placed the TootToot icon on all of our network computers. Just click on the TootToot icon and you are on the website. Posters are in every centre on display. All learners on induction will be introduced to the system.
All computers within our Service have forensic software installed which is a sophisticated system that monitors, records and prevents computer misuse in our centres. This allows a comprehensive and automatic protection for everyone who uses our computer equipment. We take our duty of care seriously and take active steps to protect our learning community.
You must not use or download material which may be offensive to others, download or forward any abusive material. You must not access, create or transmit material that is contrary to the law. Screen captures are taken all day, every day, of anything that could potentially be breaching our rules. We investigate all causes for concern. An acceptable use policy is available from your centre. Any breaches in the policy are taken very seriously, and may result in your access to the network or course being removed.
As part of our monthly ‘Hot Topics’ we will draw your attention to themes in E-Safety that we believe are important in protecting you as a technology user. You can ask us for advice on E Safety at any time.
Prevent and radicalisation
The Learning and Skills Service responds quickly to safeguarding concerns for children, young people and adults who may be vulnerable to the messages of extremism and the risks of radicalisation. .
As part of our Prevent strategy for all learners we are:
Promoting Equality and Diversity and ensuring sites are safe for all learners
Referring any Safeguarding and Prevent concerns to the appropriate authorities
Encouraging positive relationships between learners and staff
Vetting and removal of any materials of an extremist nature including banning access to extremist materials
Educating learners via induction, tutorials and hot topics
News monitoring of any concerns whether nationally, regionally, locally or for individuals and following these up
Training of our staff to raise awareness of the signs and risks
The Learning and Skills Service is a safe place to learn and we intend to keep it this way. Reporting concerns is everybody’s business. If you have any PREVENT concerns, you can raise these concerns in exactly the same way as any Safeguarding concern.
15th July 2017
This summer all the Learning and Skills Access to HE students finished the year in style. 100% of the students achieved their qualifications, with no learner scoring less than 54 out of 60 credits. What an achievement.
Most learners are studying to get into University to study health related degrees like nursing, midwifery and occupational therapy.
Linda joined the course in September 2016 and said, "at the beginning of the course I had not applied for University, I just came on to the course to see if I could do it". She has achieved distinctions in 99% of her course work. She has produced work of such a high standard that the Ascentis moderators have asked to use this as exemplars for other students. Linda applied to university through the clearing process and has three offers, two at Northumbria University to do Occupational Therapy and Nursing and one at Sunderland University to follow the Biomedical science route, which she has found a real passion for through completing the Biology studies with lecturer John Hartshorne.
Kathleen knew from the beginning that she wanted to go into Nursing. Kathleen holds down a job and has two children, and still managed the same grades with 99% of all her units at distinction level. Kathleen has accepted her place on a Nursing degree. Her lecturer Gill Fox said, "Kathleen has the most determined attitude and approach to learning, she will make a wonderful nurse".
Hannah has also completed and achieved her diploma in order to study nursing. She has a conditional offer at Northumbria University and is very determined to reach her goal. She admits the workload was challenging and this is a touch qualification to achieve, but Hannah has never looked back and is on the next step to getting a good nursing job on a hospital ward.
Emma and Louise joined the access course with their sights on midwifery and health studies. They completed and achieved their diplomas are currently working. They are both applying for university in January 2018.
Bethan has completed and achieved her Health Diploma and has a conditional offer for nursing at Northumbria University. Bethan is waiting on those all important C grades for her Maths which she has completed alongside the Access programme.
You too can be a successful HE student, using the access diploma as your stepping stone. Check out our Access to HE information.
Paying in instalments
You can apply to pay in instalments if your tuition fees are more than £150 and your course is qualification based.
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