Bicton’s vision for the Rolle Centre

The principal of Bicton College has given the proposed Rolle Centre a major boost, after he outlined his vision to offer ‘a wide range’ of courses at the former teacher training campus.

David Henley said they hoped to offer anything from short ‘leisure and pleasure’ day and evening courses to longer term vocational studies.

And, if his vision becomes a reality, students from all over the region could end up travelling to Exmouth for their education.

He said their initial focus would include languages, arts, horticulture, floristry, IT, business, first aid and health and safety courses.

It could even include a possible extension for their Military Academy – but not ‘A’ levels.

The news is a boost to the centre following Exmouth Community College withdrawing interest in running sixth form courses.

Running some courses from the Rolle Centre is consistent with Bicton College’s intention to expand beyond land-based studies and increasing access to a wider group of students across Devon.

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Mr Henley said: “We anticipate the centre will provide a vital facility for our expanding military academy…especially access to fitness training and physical education.

“An early stage of work will be to identify needs and wants through public consultation in order to effectively respond to Exmouth citizens’ requirements.”

He said they wanted to double their financial turnover by 2020 - and the Rolle Centre could play a key role in that plan.

“We are not limited to our traditional land-based specialisms, and, in fact, we are able to develop an offer across any of the broad vocational subject disciplines provided by post-16 (FE) institutions, wherever we can identify an unmet need.”

He also suggested establishing a careers advice and guidance hub, including opportunities to access apprenticeships, and courses reflecting Exmouth’s maritime engineering industry.

“We can see the significance of the marine sector to the area and will seek to extend our expertise at FE and HE levels in the land and environment to disciplines associated with coastal habitats and shoreline marine environments.

“Equally, our expertise in land-based engineering disciplines, particularly diesel engine technology, lends itself to adaptation to the needs of the marine leisure and pleasure industries.

“We are prepared to take the lead in defining and managing the educational and training delivery from the Rolle Centre.

“Our prime focus will be to support Exmouth learners to access local, high-quality education and training.

“We will avoid any duplication of existing provision available locally in the town, specifically that provided by Exmouth Community College.

“It is not our intention to develop ‘A’ level provision, as this would, in our view, risk destabilising local sixth form provision in schools.”