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Newham College students pass courses without sitting, claims BBC

PUBLISHED: 17:17 10 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:48 11 December 2013

Newham College

Newham College

Archant

Newham College allegedly cheated the government out of thousands of pounds by awarding qualifications to students not taking the courses, according to the BBC.

School and colleges are awarded grants for every Level Two or Three course passed, equivalent of A-C at GCSE or A-level, typically around £3,000.

Newham College guidelines state that no student can pass a course with less than 85 per cent attendance.

However the report looks at the results of 92 pupils from its East Ham campus, revealing half of them passed with less than 40 per cent attendance.

The allegations come within weeks of senior academic Dr Mark Walcott’s suspension, after a secret recording of him making homophobic remarks came to light.

Principal Denise Brown-Sackey is currently on a leave of absence and Newham Council have called on the college’s board of governors to carry out a full investigation.

A spokesperson said: “We are concerned not only that public money is spent appropriately but also that anyone studying hard knows their efforts are worthwhile and that their qualifications are seen as credible by employers, colleges, universities and by the students themselves.”

Of the 92 pupils in question 28 passed with fewer than 20 per cent attendance, eight with less than 10, while two pupils are alleged to have passed without attending a lesson.

One student’s records show he passed exactly the same IT course three years in a row – with no knowledge of having taken it more than once.

A spokesman for the college said: “As a high-performing and well-regarded college, we take any allegation of malpractice very seriously.

“We are keen to investigate any concerns raised with us, and if the BBC chooses to share its full data and evidence with us, we will pursue matters robustly.”

The findings came to light after a number of ex-lecturers contacted the corporation directly.

A spokesperson for the Skills Funding Agency said: “We take any allegations of financial irregularity against an organisation involved in the delivery of skills extremely seriously.”

If any of the college’s former students or teachers would like to share any information relating to this matter, please email mark.shales@archant.co.uk or call 020 8477 3824.

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