Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Newton Rigg Joins Askham Bryan Family; A New Era Is Dawning for Land-Based Education in Cumbria, with the Transfer of Newton Rigg College to a York-Based Group. as KAREN DENT Reports, Askham Bryan Has Big Plans to Shake-Up What's on Offer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Newton Rigg Joins Askham Bryan Family; A New Era Is Dawning for Land-Based Education in Cumbria, with the Transfer of Newton Rigg College to a York-Based Group. as KAREN DENT Reports, Askham Bryan Has Big Plans to Shake-Up What's on Offer

Article excerpt

THE papers are signed, 160 staff have been transferred and Newton Rigg College near Penrith is now part of the Askham Bryan College family. It is the furthest outpost for the York-based centre, which now provides agricultural and land-based education from eight campuses across the North.

The college won the tender to take over Newton Rigg, which was most recently run by the University of Cumbria, and has major plans to improve the facilities and quality of courses.

Askham Bryan principal Liz Philip said: "I am delighted that Askham Bryan College has now assumed ownership of Newton Rigg College.

"We have been successfully providing education for the farmers and landowners of tomorrow from our York campus for more than six decades and we are committed to ensuring Newton Rigg becomes a centre of agricultural excellence and has a bright future.

"We are planning significant investment into the site and promise to provide the Cumbrian community with a first-class agricultural college.

My vision is that together Askham Bryan and Newton Rigg will be a dynamic and innovative force driving agricultural excellence in the North of England."

She sees no problems with running another campus almost 100 miles away from base.

"Cumbria is a farming county. We serve the same rural needs of Yorkshire and to extend that into Cumbria seemed fantastic," said Ms Philip.

"We have eight centres across Yorkshire and the North East, including Guisborough and Middlesbrough.

INVESTMENT An Rigg Campus "Newton Rigg is 92 miles away and there will be the odd days in January when it's quite difficult - but communications are much different to what they were."

The shake-up comes after an unsettled few years for Newton Rigg. Ms Philip said: "Newton Rigg was formerly part of the University of Cumbria, before that it was part of the University of Central Lancashire and before that, it was independent.

"In 1998, it ceased to be independent and it's been in the university sector for 12 years. In October, it was opened up to competitive tender. Fundamentally, I think the university had a few problems of its own and decided to divest its FE (further education) courses."

Newton Rigg will continue to work with the university and will start to offer degree-level courses from next year.

Cumbria University's pro-vice-chancellor Prof Liz Beaty said: "This partnership with Askham Bryan College will not only ensure a sustainable future for further education in the area but also provide us with an opportunity to plan significant investments in new facilities.

"We will maintain access to our long-term teaching and research sites at Newton Rigg and look to grow our current strong focus in forestry, conservation and land-use research.

"FE courses continue to generate strong interest from potential students. …

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