Calder High decision on sixth form closure

Cllr Megan Swift

Post-16 options for Calderdale students will be considered by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet at the next meeting on Monday 19 March 2018.

Recent changes to the government funding of post-16 education mean that the majority of schools now receive less money for A Level students and some vocational courses for 16-18 year olds than in previous years.

Sixth forms usually need a minimum of 200 students to be financially sustainable.  Where year groups are any smaller, schools are likely to offer a restricted curriculum and will subsidise their sixth form from the school’s wider budget.

Calder High School currently has 120 students within its sixth form and this number is predicted to fall below 100 by September 2018.  The governing body has considered the current and projected financial costs and has now taken the difficult decision to close the sixth form on 31 August 2019.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Megan Swift said:

“It has been very difficult for the Governors of Calder High School and we fully understand and support their decision.  Ofsted have recognised that it is a good school which is helping students to achieve their full potential.  This decision will allow the school to focus on its offer to 11-16 year olds.

“We’re ambitious for all our students and we’re doing all we can to make sure that they can continue to receive an excellent education from the nursery years to post-16 and beyond.”

Other schools in Calderdale are also considering their approach to sixth form provision. Trinity Academy, in collaboration with Rastrick High School, Trinity Academy Sowerby Bridge and the Council for example, is exploring the feasibility of opening a sixth form college at the former Council offices at Northgate House in Halifax.  This would expect to attract a large sixth form intake which would support a wider curriculum and be financially viable.

Students who wish to continue their post-16 education can consider a range of options including Ryburn High School, sixth form colleges in Rochdale and Burnley as well as Calderdale College and, for some Crossley Heath School and North Halifax Grammar School.

The Cabinet will be recommended to approve the publication of a statutory notice on behalf of Calder High School’s Governing Body to close the sixth form provision from 31 August 2019.

There is a four-stage statutory process which will include a consultation period where parents and members of the community can make representations about the changes to the Council.

The Cabinet will discuss the report at the next meeting, which will be held at 6pm on Monday 19 March 2018 at Halifax Town Hall.

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