Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness

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Furness College

The Logo of Furness College

Furness College campus, Barrow-in-Furness.jpg
Channelside Campus
Channelside Campus, Channelside, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, LA14 2PJ
Sixth Form Campus, Rating Lane, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, LA13 9LE
Type Further Education
Chair John Butler
Principal/Chief Executive Andrew Wren
Gender Mixed
Age 16+
Enrolment 5,000

Furness College is a college of further education in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. It provides a wide range of A levels, vocational education and skills training to over 16s, notably working with BAE Systems to train apprentices for their shipyard in Barrow. The college also offers courses for adults, and runs HNDs and other higher education programmes including foundation degrees, degrees and masters degrees. These are offered in association with the University of Cumbria, the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University. It is the only college in Barrow and the largest further education college in Cumbria. On 1 August 2016, Furness College merged with Barrow Sixth Form College.

In August 2016, Furness College gained chartered college status when it became a member of the Chartered Institute for Further Education. This membership is awarded to the higher performing further education colleges and training providers in the UK.[1] The college is also a member of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear.[2]


Furness College is a further education college based on two campuses in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. It is the largest provider of education and training in south Cumbria offering a wide range of vocational courses to its students. The college works closely with its local community providing a wide range of part-time and full-time courses to meet local and national needs. It provides skills training to a large number of employers, helping them to meet their business objectives.

The college has over 1400 students aged 16–18, and over 700 adult students. In addition, over 1000 apprentices are trained through the college each year.

The college has over thirty years’ experience of providing degrees and currently has over 500 students studying higher education courses. The degrees are validated by the University of Cumbria, the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University.


The Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Building, Channelside

The college underwent a campus transformation with a £42 million rebuild which opened in 2012. The remodelled campus provides the people of Furness and South Cumbria with an educational environment where their experience of study will be related to the real world. The building provides a prestigious education venue combining brand new workshops, salons, restaurants, dedicated university centre and the very latest technology. The refurbishment of the College’s Learning Resource Centre in October 2012 created brand new facilities and resources for Sport, Creative Media, IT, Early Years, Health & Social Care and Public Services. A major new part of this project was the development of the college’s sport facilities to house a dedicated gym, complemented by an all-weather sports pitch overlooking Walney Island and the Channel.

In August 2016, the college opened a brand-new Advanced Manufacturing Centre on the Channelside campus[3] to accommodate its growing number of engineering students, including those studying on higher education courses.

As a result of the college's merger with Barrow Sixth Form College on 1 August 2016, the college has a second campus at Rating Lane in Barrow-in-Furness. This campus was opened in 1979 to replace existing school sixth form provision in the town.


Rating Lane Campus

On 1 August 2016, Furness College underwent a 'type B' merger with Barrow Sixth Form College.[4] The Sixth Form College received a financial notice to improve[5] in January 2016 from the Education Funding Agency and was deemed to be no longer financially viable due to its inadequate financial health. As a result, merger discussions between the two colleges continued and on 1 August 2016, the corporation of Barrow Sixth Form College was dissolved and its assets and liabilities transferred to Furness College.

The college will continue to operate on both campuses, which are approximately three miles apart, retaining both the Furness College and Sixth Form College brands. Both A level and technical/professional courses will continue, with further expansion of the curriculum planned for 2017-2018 where there may be opportunities for students to study a 'blended' curriculum offer. A level provision is predominantly offered at the college's Rating Lane campus with technical and professional qualifications mainly delivered at the Channelside campus.


Furness College offers a wide range of vocational courses which can be studied on a part-time or full-time basis.

  • Full- and part-time courses - the college runs a large range of technical and professional courses for young people and adults.
  • Full-time A level courses.
  • Business Development - the college works with the local business community to provide bespoke training courses.
  • School Leavers - a wide range of full-time courses are available from Art & Design through to Engineering, Health & Social Care, Sport and lots more.
  • Apprenticeships - Furness College currently trains over 1000 apprentices and works with over 400 employers.
  • Higher Education - from foundation degrees to masters degrees in a range of subject areas.

Ofsted Inspection[edit]

In March 2015, the college underwent a full Ofsted inspection.[6] Inspectors judged the college to be good with outstanding provision in engineering, the subject studied by the majority of its students.

Student Union[edit]

The Furness College Students' Union is affiliated to the National Union of Students, and all students are entitled to membership.[7] The college also offers extensive academic and pastoral support to all its students.

Leadership and Management[edit]

The College is led by the senior leadership team under the direction and scrutiny of the Board of the Corporation which is also responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the college. John Butler is the current Chair of Governors and Andrew Wren is the Principal and Chief Executive of Furness College, including Barrow Sixth Form College.

Notable Former Teachers[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°06′57″N 3°14′31″W / 54.1158°N 3.2420°W / 54.1158; -3.2420