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Former college student considers legal action after failure to get uni place

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: July 06, 2012

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A FORMER Callington Community College student is considering legal action against the school, claiming it is responsible for her failure to gain a university place.

The former sixth form student claims she and six others were persuaded to take the International Baccalaureate (IB) – favoured by many private schools – instead of A levels, but none of the students achieved their predicted grades and only one was offered a place at her first-choice university.

Nigel Gann, founder of the WorkingInSchool.net social networking website, has taken up her cause.

He said legal action was being prepared against the college, claiming lives had been blighted because it used students as guinea pigs for a failed educational experiment.

Mr Gann said five had since begun traditional A-level courses – including four who stayed at Callington – but believed they would lose out financially because of the rise in university fees.

Mr Gann, a school governor and former teacher, said: “In some ways, Callington Community College is a fine school – it’s been recognised as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, for example.”

But he described the school’s decision to push ahead with the IB as “gung-ho”.

He said the school was reluctant to publicise its first IB results in 2011, while happily trumpeting its A-level results.

Mr Gann said all seven students had been described by the college as ‘excellent’, but just two gained university places and the group fell short of their predicted grades by up to 36 per cent.

They achieved an average of 24/25 points – equivalent to three C grades at A level.

“Legal action is now being prepared against the college, for which Legal Aid has been secured,” said Mr Gann.

The student and her family – whose names have not been released to the Cornish Gurdian – claim through Mr Gann that the college takes no responsibility for the results, blaming students’ own ‘personal circumstances’.

Principal Gary Lobbett said: “Callington Community College was inspected by Ofsted this year and was rated ‘outstanding’.

“The sixth form was confirmed as outstanding, annually increasing in size and popularity, with high-quality teaching and a curriculum closely tailored to students’ needs promoting excellent progress.

“It is not appropriate that the college makes a public comment about the performance of particular students.”

He said WorkingInSchool.net’s statement contained factual inaccuracies and the college considered it misleading.

“We have referred the matter to our legal advisers,” he said.

Callington Community College celebrated the best GCSE results of any Cornish state school in the last round of exams.

The college was only beaten by three private schools, securing 68 per cent of students achieving five GCSEs at grades A* to C including maths and English.

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