Newcastle College

Newcastle College is a further education and higher education college in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England.

Newcastle College
Newcastle College logo.png
Scotswood Road

Tyne and Wear

TypeFurther Education Higher Education
Department for Education URN130552 Tables
PrincipalTony Lewin
Enrolmentc. 45,000 (2013–14)[1]
Colour(s)Blue, white

Newcastle College is the largest college in the North East of England, with over 16,000 students. The College specialises in vocational education.

The college provides Further Education, Higher Education, Apprenticeships and Adult courses and has five schools: The School of Creative and Digital Industries, The School of Engineering, The School of Health, Childcare, Business and Science and the School of Construction, Leisure and Sport and Newcastle School of Education.

Newcastle College is a division of NCG, one of the largest education, training and employability organisations in the UK. Ofsted currently grade the college as 'Requires Improvement'.[2]


Newcastle College can trace its roots back to 1894, when it was established as Rutherford Memorial College, becoming Rutherford Grammar School in 1945.[3] In 1930, the President of the Board of Education Charles Trevelyan founded the Trevelyan Building for girls.[citation needed] In 1962 the college was divided into two separate divisions, the college of Further Education and the Charles Trevelyan Technical College. In 1972 the two colleges merged and became known as Newcastle College.[3]

According to The Journal, the college was falling into disrepair in the late twentieth century. Dame Jackie Fisher, who joined the college as principal in 2000 and later became chief executive of the group, suggests that the buildings were in a poor state due to lack of investment in the 1990s and that the structure of the college was wasteful. The restructuring took Fisher and her team three and a half years, with the college, as of September 2011, turning over £150m a year, compared to £45m in 2003.[4]

In 2013, Newcastle College appointed new Principal, Carole Kitching.[5]


Newcastle College is a division of NCG (formerly Newcastle College Group). With a turnover of more than £155million, NCG is one of the largest education, training and employability organisations in the UK.[6]

In August 2007, the college merged with Skelmersdale & Ormskirk College, a college in Lancashire;[7] it was later renamed West Lancashire College in August 2011.[8]

Intraining was formed in March 2008, following the acquisition of TWL Training in December 2007,[9] and the purchase of the troubled training organisation Carter & Carter in March 2008.[10] This led to the introduction of the Newcastle College Group (NCG).

In November 2011, the group also acquired the British youth charity Rathbone Training.[11] The college attempted to merge with Northumberland College, but the Ashington-based college rejected the merger plans in response to feedback from their staff, students and local MPs.[12]

In November 2005, the Times Educational Supplement reported that lecturers who rebelled, "against new contracts, were defeated after they faced losing their jobs."[13] Following cuts by the coalition government, the college reorganised its curriculum structure leading to 200-equivalent full-time job losses, with 188 new jobs created in 2011. The restructure lead to the grade, and therefore salary, reduction of many teaching staff.[14] Shortly after redundancies were announced, The Guardian reported that NCG's chief executive, Dame Jackie Fisher, "enjoyed a pay rise, including bonus and retention payment, of almost £73,000."[14] However, the report mentions a spokeswoman's defence of the pay rise, pointing out "that Fisher is responsible for three divisions with an annual turnover of £152m in 2009-10."[14] Also in 2011, allegations of workplace bullying were publicly made against college management and reported on the BBC's regional Inside Out programme in January 2012.[15][16] NCG vehemently refuted these allegations stating that “it takes any allegation of bullying extremely seriously and has a clear and transparent process for dealing with staff concerns. All reported allegations are always thoroughly investigated and dealt with appropriately.[16]

Ofsted downgraded the college from 'outstanding' to 'good' following an inspection in 2012.[17] It was widely reported that college management had ejected the inspection team from the premises, and that some inspectors were offered counselling as a result of the process.[18][19]

In March 2014, Newcastle Sixth Form College, a Further Education college in Newcastle upon Tyne, was official opened.[20]

In August 2014, Kidderminster College was acquired by NCG.[21]

In 2017, NCG merged with Lewisham and Southwark and Carlise College.[22]

Also in 2017, NCG CEO Joe Docherty was featured in The Chronicle's 'Most Influential List'.[23] Alongside his role as CEO, Joe is also a Trustee of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – a charity which supports education, arts, environment and social change, and is also a Chairman and co-owner of Crosby's, a fast growing SME providing services and equipment to the catering industry.

In 2018 Ofsted downgraded NCG from good, to requires improvement. Ofsted took the unusual decision to extend the inspection period by an extra day. This was agreed amicably between NCG and Ofsted as it was the largest and most complex FE inspection Ofsted has had to undertake, involving six colleges and a training organisation.

NCG was the first Further Education provider in the UK to be awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers, meaning it is now able to validate its own degrees.[24]


The Parsons Building at the main campus.
The Rutherford (left) and Trevelyan (tower block) Buildings

The main campus is situated at Rye Hill, close to Newcastle city centre, and there are 4 satellite sites belonging to the Colleges School of Engineering. Newcastle Aviation Academy is located next to Newcastle International Airport.[25] and Newcastle College Rail Academy is located in Gateshead. The Energy Academy is based in Wallsend and the Automotive Academy-based off Scotswood Road.

Work started on the construction of a new Sixth Form college at the Rye Hill campus in August 2011. Designed by international architects RMJM, the building was scheduled to open in 2013.[26] The college was official opened in 2014 as Newcastle Sixth Form College and is no longer part of Newcastle College, but instead a separate division within NCG.[27]


Performance Academy: Opened in November 2004, the £21m Performance Academy at Newcastle College is one of the UK's leading training centres for music, performing arts and media.[28][29] The facility comprises a 250-seat theatre; ten recording studios; acting, music and dance studios;[28] and its own record label.[30] Former students from the Performance Academy include Joe McElderry and Perrie Edwards from Little Mix who won The X-Factor in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Lifestyle Academy: September 2006 saw the opening of the "Lifestyle Academy", for students studying hospitality, beauty, hairdressing, travel and tourism, and sport.[31]

Energy Academy: The Energy Academy in Wallsend is a centre of innovation, training, and development for the offshore wind sector.[32] Opened September in 2011, the 20,000 sq ft centre provides skills training to employers within the renewable energies sector and to young people in the region.

Newcastle Sixth Form College: In 2013 Newcastle College opened a new building to the sixth form which was new to the college.

Rail Academy: Opened in September 2014, Newcastle College Rail Academy (located in Gateshead) was built to address significant skills shortage in the rail industry, developed in conjunction with the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSAR) and key employers such as Network Rail. The £5 million site features on-site overhead lines, switching, crossings, telecommunications, multiple P-way set ups and electronic PLC testing and monitoring equipment.

Aviation Academy: This £3 million facility is located next to Newcastle International Airport the facility consists of a 12 000m aircraft hangar and ground-training aircraft such as a BAE Jetstream, Boeing 737 & Jet Provosts.

Parsons Building: Opened in March 2016 this £18 million building features on site retail units; hospital training wards; childcare training rooms; science laboratories; learner zones and social spaces.

Mandela Building: This building features painting & sculpture studios; MAC suites; 3D design workshops; digital photography suits; an exhibition space and a black & white darkroom. The foundation diploma for Art & Design has also been registered as a University Arts London (UAL) Approved Centre.

Automotive Centre: This centre includes a number of automotive workshops.

Rutherford Building: This building includes CAD workshops; CNC machinery; construction workshops; paint & decorating suites; welding & joinery facilities and electrical and pubmbing workshops.

Higher educationEdit

Newcastle College also offers HE qualifications. These include foundation degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. The college has over 3,000 HE students and is one of the biggest providers of HE in FE. These students have access to HE-only facilities such as Space.

The college previously offered foundation degrees validated by universities, including Leeds Metropolitan, Northumbria, and Sunderland. In July 2011, Newcastle College was awarded Foundation Degree(FD) Awarding Powers, allowing it to develop and validate its own FD programmes.[33]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Top college in jobs cull". Times Educational Supplement. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Ofsted reports". Ofsted. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Newcastle College". The Independent. 1 May 2011.
  4. ^ Knox, Chris (5 September 2011). "Teacher With A Real Talent For Rescuing Our Failing Colleges". The Journal. Newcastle upon Tyne: Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd. p. 28.
  5. ^ "Major North-East college appoints new principal". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  6. ^ "NCG Annual Report 10/11".
  7. ^ "Skelmersdale College (Dissolution) Order 2007". Office of Public Sector Information. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
  8. ^ "College to become West Lancashire College". West Lancashire College.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Turner, David (22 March 2008). "Carter & Carter sell-off bucks trend".
  11. ^ "Newcastle College Group 'merge' with Rathbone". FE Week.
  12. ^ King, Emma (17 November 2011). "Northumberland College pulls out of merger deal". The Journal. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012.
  13. ^ Lee, Joseph (23 December 2005). "Panto Plays On Without Cinders". Times Educational Supplement (4666). TSL Education Limited. p. 29. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Mourant, Andrew (27 June 2011). "Are colleges cutting more jobs than they need to?". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Chronicle, Evening (27 January 2012). "Chronicle letters: Public force Beeb U-turn". nechronicle.
  16. ^ a b "Inside Out North East and Cumbria". 23 January 2012. BBC. BBC1. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  17. ^ Pearson, Adrian (17 August 2012). "Newcastle College downgraded after Ofsted inspection". The Journal. Newcastle upon Tyne. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  18. ^ Pearson, Adrian (17 July 2012). "Newcastle College staff clash with Ofsted inspectors". The Journal. Newcastle upon Tyne.
  19. ^ Brown, Jonathan (18 July 2012). "Ofsted inspectors forced to leave Newcastle College after row over conduct". The Independent.
  20. ^ News, Bdaily Business. "Lord Robert Winston opens Newcastle Sixth Form College". Bdaily Business News.
  21. ^ "Proposed Merger between Kidderminster College and NCG". Kidderminster College. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  22. ^ "Carlisle College merger complete". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  23. ^ Upex, Angela (27 September 2017). "Most Influential List 2017: Here's the list of movers and shakers C to D". nechronicle. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  24. ^ "NCG first college to be granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers".
  25. ^ "Royal opening for college's new aviation academy". News Post Leader. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  26. ^ Warburton, Dan (10 August 2011). "Newcastle College unveils plans for new Sixth Form centre". The Journal. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  27. ^ Proctor, Kate. "Professor Lord Robert Winston opens Newcastle Sixth Form College - The Journal".
  28. ^ a b Sting in the tale: with a 21m [pounds sterling] investment and the backing of a famous pop star, Newcastle College's Performance Academy has impressive launch. | Goliath B...
  29. ^ "Newcastle College chiefs proud of Joe's efforts". Evening Chronicle.
  30. ^ "Futureheads guitarist visits Newcastle College". The Journal. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012.
  31. ^ "New Lifestyle Academy almost full ahead of time". Newcastle College. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012.
  32. ^ "Energy academy in Wallsend set to boost jobs". Evening Chronicle.
  33. ^ Porter, Aaron (11 August 2011). "First or Fail: Newcastle and Durham colleges and Carol Vorderman". The Guardian.
  34. ^ Leah Strug (8 October 2009). "Support for X Factor Joe is top class". Shields Gazette. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  35. ^ Moss, Stephen (20 April 2017). "John Wilson: 'Music is either worth doing or it's not'" – via

Coordinates: 54°58′00″N 1°37′40″W / 54.96667°N 1.62778°W / 54.96667; -1.62778