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Students face 155-mile move to complete NCTJ qualifications as course axed

Alasdair ClarkJournalism students have been told they will not be able to complete their NCTJ qualifications – unless they transfer to another course 155 miles away.

Fourteen students in the first year of their course at Fife College, in Kirkcaldy, received letters “out of the blue” telling them that they will not be able to complete their Higher National Diploma in practical journalism.

The cancellation means they will be unable to qualify for their NCTJ qualification, which is only offered during the second year of the course, and will instead graduate this year with only the Higher National Certificate in practical journalism.

According to a report in Dundee daily The Courier, the college told students they would be given the option to apply to complete their HND year, in which NCTJ exams are taken, in Sunderland.

One off the students, 22-year-old former Scottish Labour worker Alasdair Clark, pictured above left, told The Courier: “The letter states that it’s happening due to operational changes, but for people like me who gave up a full-time job to do this course, it’s a kick in the teeth.

“It’s particularly annoying when the letter suggests that people can apply for their HND year in Sunderland. But the closing date for Sunderland is only two weeks which is far too short notice when you consider tuition fees and everything else.”

James Bissett, the college’s curriculum manager for media, arts and design, said in his letter that the decision had been made as a result of his department’s course portfolio review.

He said: “It is with regret that, due to a number of operational considerations, there will be no provision of HND practical journalism in academic year 18-19. The college will continue to offer a HNC practical journalism qualification only.

“As discussed during the change of provision from HND to HNC for this year, there are a number of progression routes available at other colleges for entry into the HND or universities which provide journalism and/or media and communications degrees.

“Our existing partnership agreement with University of Sunderland which provides the opportunity to undertake the NCTJ vendor qualifications is being re-appraised for suitability into their year two intake.”

An NCTJ spokeswoman said: “The NCTJ is investigating this matter and students who are affected are encouraged to contact the NCTJ for advice.”


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  • November 17, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Lot of questions for the college here.
    Like, what ‘operational considerations’?
    ‘As discussed’ by whom? With whom? ‘For this year’ implies it was before these students started, so what were they told when they signed up? When did the college become aware of these ‘considerations’?

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  • November 17, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    We at the College of Media and Publishing can help all these students with places on our online NCTJ diploma course. Then they won’t have to move.

    Our course covers every diploma subject, and includes tuition and exam preparation / mocks etc. They can start immediately if necessary.


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