Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the decision of the governors at Calder High School to close its sixth form on 31 August 2019.
The decision has become necessary as 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.
Many head teachers believe sixth forms need a minimum of 200 students to be financially sustainable, and some even suggest the number is closer to 300 students to ensure they are viable. Calder High sixth form has forecast student numbers will fall below 100 by September 2018.
Where year groups are any smaller than the minimum, schools are likely to offer a restricted curriculum and will subsidise their sixth form from the school’s wider budget.
At Calder High School the subsidy for the academic year 2017/18 is approximately £358,000. The school governors have concluded that sixth form provision at Calder High is now financially unsustainable and is putting extra pressure on the school’s budget.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Megan Swift said:
“We fully understand and support the decision of the governors, which will secure the financial position of the school, allowing staff to focus on providing a high quality education for our 11 -16 year olds.
“Ofsted has recognised that this is a good school, achieving above average results and students make good progress and achieve their potential. This brave decision will ensure that this can now be sustained.”
As a maintained foundation trust school, the final approval for the decision is required from the Local Authority once the statutory process has been completed.
If agreed, the school will no longer offer sixth form provision to Year 12 students from September 2018.
The statutory process to close the sixth form had four stages, which included a consultation period where parents and members of the community had the opportunity to make representations about the changes to the Council. No representations were received during the statutory period, which ended on 22 June 2018.
Students who wish to continue their post-16 education in Calderdale can consider a range of options including Ryburn High School, Calderdale College, Crossley Heath School and North Halifax Grammar School.
The Cabinet will consider the recommendation to approve the closure of Calder High sixth form at the next meeting, which will be held at 6pm on Monday 30 July 2018 at Halifax Town Hall.