Engage (14-16)

Engage (14-16) is a specialist provision at EDC for young people aged 14-16 who, if accepted, will be directly enrolled at the College rather than stay at school.

The focus of this full-time provision is to support young people who are not benefitting from, nor progressing within, a mainstream school setting and are at risk of permanent exclusion.

The Engage 14-16 provision at East Durham College is a unique offering. It provides an alternative learning setting for young people who would benefit from a more vocational-based curriculum.

The provision seeks to enthuse and motivate these young people by offering a vocational based curriculum together with maths, English and science – all offered as a ‘fresh start’ in a different setting. Positive behaviour is rewarded and promoted throughout the provision, which is central to helping re-engage these young people. Learners are given clear boundaries to work within and negative behaviour is addressed appropriately and consistently.

The underlying causes of any negative behaviours are carefully considered and steps are then taken to assist the young person to better manage these. All learners are involved in the setting and achievement of their own targets, for both personal and academic growth. Learners will know what their progression routes are and what they need to do to achieve these.

They are assisted in considering their futures and as a result become more focused on making the necessary changes to enable themselves to succeed.

Where Can Your Study on Engage?

Students can choose to enrol at our Peterlee Campus or our Houghall Campus in Durham.

The Curriculum at Engage

The Curriculum Engage 14-16 offers all the compulsory subjects required at Key Stage 4, including maths, English and science. In addition, students can select vocational options which are taught within East Durham College’s Peterlee Campus or at the Houghall Campus in Durham depending at which site they are based.

Core Subjects:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

Additional Subjects:

  • PE
  • PHSE Education (Personal, Social, Health and Economic)
  • Engage Learning - Reflection & Target Setting

Vocational Options

Students can select ONE optional pathway:

Peterlee Campus - Pathway Options:

  • Art
  • Construction
  • Catering
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Sport

Houghall Campus, Durham - Pathway Options:

  • Art
  • Equine
  • Horticulture
  • Sport

Ofsted Report 2021

East Durham College was delighted to been graded as ‘GOOD’ following a rigorous four-day, full inspection by Ofsted in September 2021; with an outstanding rating for behaviour and attitudes.

The Ofsted report highlighted the positive work that goes on in the 14-16 provision at the college, saying:

"Leaders have very high expectations and ambitions for 14- to 16-year-old learners who attend the college full-time. Learners participate well in the carefully planned curriculum of core subjects, such as English, mathematics and science, and in a range of vocational subjects, which engage them well. As a result, these young people, many of whom were at risk of permanent exclusion from school, are successfully nurtured to succeed."

Shortlisted at the Tes FE Awards 2021

Our Engage 14-16 provision was also shortlisted for the 'Contribution to the Local Community' award at the 2021 Tes FE Awards. The Oscar's for the sector.

The College was shortlisted for the award following a tremendous range of local community work undertaken by students in Engage. Craig Dowell, Programme Area Leader for Engage 14-16, at the Peterlee Campus, said:

"I’m so incredibly proud of all our students, and this award nomination is totally for them and the amazing work they have done over the last couple of year."

AoC Beacon Awards Commended College 2019

Our Engage 14-16 provision was commended as part of the 2019 Association Of Colleges Beacon Awards in the Support for Students category.

This commendation demonstrated that EDC had met the AoC Beacon Standard 2019/20. The award seeks to celebrate outstanding examples of student support provided by a college for a significant group of students, which is above and beyond what is the ‘norm’.


For more information, please call the Student Services Team on 0191 518 8222, use LiveChat or contact Greg Corcoran, the Curriculum Director for 14-16,  on 0191 518 5537.

Frequently Asked Questions

What hours do I have to attend Engage?
The Engage provision is a full time programme and you would be expected to attend five days a week. Classes start at 9am and finish at 3pm each day.

Do I have to wear a uniform?
Yes. All Engage students must wear uniform. This currently consists of a branded sweatshirt, polo shirt, black trousers and black shoes or trainers. Order forms are issued during the enrolment process.

How do I know which vocational options I will enjoy?
You will be given an opportunity to have a ‘taster’ of the different areas to see which ones you prefer before you commit to your selection. You will also be given expert advice and guidance based on what your future goals and aspirations are.

Is it different to school?
Just like school Engage has lots of rules. These are in place to help you develop and make the necessary changes to be successful in education. Many of the rules will be similar to your current school: you have to attend every day, you have to been time, you have to wear uniform, and you have to treat others with respect. Staff consistently reward good behaviour and challenge behaviour that is below the expected standard.

However, Engage is different to school because you will be taught in small groups, 10 maximum. You may also get more one-to-one support than you get at your current school. You can of course also access subjects at Engage that you probably won’t have done before in school.

What is the process for applying?
Your school will talk to you about the potential benefits of moving to Engage. An application form is then completed by your school and sent to Engage. Following this you may be invited in for an informal interview with the Head of Engage and one of the teaching staff. During this interview the provision will be discussed and you can ask any questions you may have.

If it is felt that Engage may be of benefit to you then you and your parents/carer will be invited in to one of our Open Evenings so you can find out more details and see the facilities.

Following this, depending on when you apply, you may be invited in for a taster day event. This will involve you attending for a full day at Engage so that you can see exactly what it is like and meet some of the other learners that have applied.

The final step is a second taster day and then enrolment. You would start in September and be placed on a 6-week trial to ensure that Engage was the right place for you. Following successful completion of the trial period you will be officially transferred onto the Engage roll.

Contact Us

For more information, please call Student Services on 0191 518 8222, use LiveChat or contact Greg Corcoran on 0191 518 5537.