A CYBER ATTACK has delayed the opening of Bolton's only specialist sixth form college.

The Sixth Form Bolton, previously known at Bolton Sixth Form College, should have opened this week for student inductions, but the disruption caused by the attack has meant they will take place next week, with lessons starting on Monday, September 14.

It is understood the cyber attack on the computer systems was discovered quickly.

In a statement colleges bosses said: " The Sixth Form Bolton – we can confirm that we have been the target of a cyber-incident which is causing operational disruption across our networks and IT systems.

As soon as we became aware of the incident, we engaged a group of external specialists who launched an investigation and also took immediate action in order to mitigate the impact.

"We also reported the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as well as the Police, and other regulatory bodies as appropriate.

"The investigation is still ongoing and we are currently assessing the scope of the incident."

The statement added: "We take the security of our system extremely seriously and as a result we were able to respond quickly to this incident.

"Induction for new students has been delayed by one week so we would like to apologise to our students, employees and partners for the inconvenience this has caused.

" Lessons are due to start from Monday 14th September."

Governor Martyn Cox, who is also the deputy leader of Bolton Council, said: "The security systems at the college are as robust as you would expect but these sort of attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"They cause an awful lot of disruption to the victim, with the aim of causing a lot of hassle.

"The college has been a victim of an attack."

Cllr Cox said that the college is working to get the systems up and running.

The disruption comes just weeks after the college celebrated a great set of results on A-level day.

It is currently expanding its site on Deane Road after demand for students places continues to grow at the Ofsted rated good college.