Parents’ Zone


We are delighted to welcome your son or daughter to our college where we will help them on their next steps to a rewarding career.

Furness College merged with Barrow Sixth Form and is now across two campuses with a further education college at Channelside and a specialist sixth form campus at Rating Lane.

We offer the widest choice of academic, vocational and professional courses in the area and are rated Good by Ofsted.

Our Channelside campus is the beating heart of vocational training with close links to businesses, the go-to place for apprenticeships and expert tutors, who were praised by Ofsted for their industry experience and high level skills.

The sixth form has a proven track record of academic success and supporting students to fulfil their goals — whether that’s a university place, a higher apprenticeship or a great job.

Wherever your child studies, we will do our best to ensure they enjoy their time at College and we value your role as a parent in supporting them to achieve.

If you have questions about any aspect of college life, please contact us on 01229 825017 (Channelside) or 01229 828377 (Rating Lane) or email info@fumess.ac.uk.

We look forward to meeting you.

Andrew Wren

Principal and Chief Executive

Information for Parents

On arrival at college, your son/daughter will have been allocated a Personal Progress Coach (PPC).  The Personal Progress Coaches at the College are:

Channelside –  Keira McKenna (KM), Leanne Hirst (LH), Jan Dixon (JD), Sandra Crease (SC), Laura McKinley (LM), Patsy Donnelly (PD)

Sixth Form – Sam Roberts, (SR) Kerry Major (KM), Liz Smith (LS)

The initials of your son/daughter’s PPC will have been printed on the top left hand side of their timetable. Please ask your son/daughter who their PPC is.

Our Personal Progress Coaches will look after your son/daughter on their journey through college. They are the first port of call for any problems that our students may experience whilst at college. Your son/daughter will have a one hour’s progress group session each week which will concentrate on the key areas of individual progress, progression, employability skills and keeping them safe in college and the wider environment.

As well as this, the PPCs can be contacted by your students via email/text/phone or by calling in at the PPC room on the second floor at Channelside, behind reception at Rating Lane or into Student Services.

PPCs have a responsibility to monitor their cohort of students in terms of attendance, progress and progression plans – be it progression from Year 11 to Year 13 or when students leave college and moves onwards to university, a higher apprenticeship or employment.

Should any problems arise regarding attendance or progress, PPCs will contact you. You are welcome to get in touch with the Personal Progress Coaches here at college if you have any concerns or queries.

Attendance of 90% means that students are missing the equivalent of one day’s worth of College lessons every fortnight.

Attendance of 80% means that students are missing the equivalent of one day’s worth of College lessons every week.

If your son/daughter cannot avoid being absent during the College term, you should contact college by 10am each day they are absent, explaining their reason for absence to the college reception.

If we have not heard from anyone about why a student is absent from college by 11am and they should have been in lessons, their PPC/Student Service staff will ring or text to enquire where they are.

Where poor attendance becomes a problem at college, your son/daughter will be placed on the college’s discipline policy and targets for improvement will be set; a system which is initially managed by your son/daughter’s PPC and subject tutors. If the problem becomes a persistent and reoccurring problem, then senior staff members will become involved.

If your son/daughter is placed on the formal levels of the college’s discipline policy you will be notified by their PPC. Each student will be issued with an attendance guide.

Fitness to Study where reoccurring absence is due to illness and/or a learning disability and/or a learning difficulty, the college will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate this. However, the bottom line is that non-attendance at college seriously impacts on a student’s progress and the fitness to study policy and processes will be followed.

Appointments medical, dental and opticians appointments should be made outside of college lesson times. Where this is not possible, please make sure your son/daughter lets reception and/or their PPC know of anticipated medical appointment absences. These are treated as sickness absences.

Due to recent changes brought in by the DFE, we can no longer approve any holidays in term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. You should still inform us of these circumstances by writing a letter of explanation to the Head of Sixth Form and ask the student to hand this in.

No holidays at all should be taken in external exam times. Students are unable to sit external exams at any other time than that published by the relevant exam board.

Student bursary is available for those who have a low household income. To check if you are eligible, please ask at Student Services for an application form. Bursary payments are linked to satisfactory levels of attendance. Liz Kershaw, of Student Services, can help students with bursary applications.

Student Services also deal with queries about exams, timetables, transport, College Counselling and other matters.

This system is your son/daughter’s view of their electronic individual learning Plan (ilP) – information recorded on here includes interviews and targets set with their PPCs, any discipline interviews regarding attendance or progress and the targets set from these, Careers interviews, UCaS reference information, inclusion interviews, assessment grades and targets set from these assessments.

Visit ProPortal

At our sixth form Rating Lane campus, new students in A Level, Cambridge Technical Level 3 first year, GCSE and Cambridge Technical Level 2 classes will have their progress formally assessed and recorded for each subject on Pro Portal approximately every four weeks against the level of their Target Grade (TG).

These formal assessments will be on exam board pieces of work marked to exam board criteria. These assessments started on 16/9/19. Poor performance in multiple recorded assessments will be followed up by PPCS.
Please ask your son/daughter about their progress in these assessments.

These are the minimum grades that we expect your son/daughter to be achieving in their subjects given their prior performance at GCSE.
Remember that these are Minimum Target Grades and the aim is to achieve your TG or better in all assessed pieces of work in all subjects.

Your son/daughter has come to college primarily to further their learning. They should make the most of trying to study more independently.

There is a high correlation between hard work, attendance, personal organisation and final results.

Students should make good use of ‘private study time’: Study area; learning hub; library; it rooms; unused classrooms; home.

Homework will be set at least weekly in most subjects and work should be done in preparation for the formal recorded assessments to ensure that your son/daughter reaches at least their target level. Reading round each subject, making extra notes, reviewing notes, making revision aids and extra research are all things that can be done out of formal classes and on top of the formal homework set.

GCSE subjects/Level 2 subjects: minimum 3 hours per subject per week out of class.

A level subjects/Level 3 subjects: minimum 5 hours per subject per week out of class.

Students may have extra independent learning on their timetables. These sessions are registered and held in the Learning Hub. These sessions contribute towards your son/daughter’s attendance figures and are not optional.

The College runs Enrichment opportunities for our students. These range from volunteering and Young Enterprise to Duke of Edinburgh, sporting activities and being a part of the Students’ Union.

Your son/daughter had the chance to visit the Fresher’s Fair advertising sign ups for these opportunities on September 18th.
Please ask them if they signed up for anything, as these extra activities mean that your son/ daughter may have something extra to talk about in their applications for University/employment.

The college provides a comprehensive careers service through Student Services. There is a comprehensive Careers Library with extra resources.

At our sixth form Rating Lane campus, Sue Hannan/Helen Rastelli/Steve Buckley (Honours Programme Leads and Tutors) run dedicated sessions and visits for Honours students who will be studying the Extended Project Qualification or a fourth A Level/other qualification. Honours students will be asked to choose a subject, or two in exceptional circumstances, where they want to do a specialised Honours pathway.

Inclusion provides services for students with learning difficulties/disabilities. If a student needs to be assessed to see if they qualify for support from inclusion, please encourage them to contact Helen Sharples (Channelside) or Ruth Niven (Rating Lane).

We can organise work experience and/or employment opportunities such as teaching practice for students who want/need such placements. We are the only college in Cumbria to be awarded Fair Train’s work experience gold Quality Standard, which recognises the high quality of our work experience placements and support.

The library issues subject text books. It also has a range of books for reading for pleasure and stocks periodicals required for subjects.  These books should be returned in a timely manner, otherwise students run the risk of being invoiced for non-return of college property.

The college runs enrichment opportunities for our students. These range from volunteering and Young enterprise to the Duke of Edinburgh award, sporting activities and being a part of the Students’ Union.

Your son/daughter had the chance to visit the Freshers’ Fair advertising sign-ups for these opportunities each September. Please ask them if they signed up for anything, as these extra activities mean that your son/ daughter may have something extra to talk about in their applications for university and employment.

For details of our safeguarding policy click here.

We take the Safeguarding of our students very seriously.

Your son/daughter should inform Reception or other member of staff of:
• Strangers in college (all students, staff, visitors and adult students will have lD lanyards)
• Any concerns about their or other students’ safety eg – corridors blocked, problems in toilets etc.

They should also:
• Keep to the College IT Policy regarding inappropriate sites
• Keep to the College bullying & harassment policy – including cyber—bullying (Facebook, texting etc.)
• Be careful crossing the drive to rooms The Abbey Building
• Drive <10mph on college roads Please encourage students to wear their college lanyard ID at all times in College.

LA14 2PJ
Rating Lane
LA13 9LE
Contact Us Tel: 01229 825 017 (Channelside Campus)
Tel: 01229 828 377 (Barrow Sixth Form College)
Email: info@furness.ac.uk
Business Support Tel: 01229 844 836
Email: businesssupport@furness.ac.uk