Sixth Form Consultation – 23/10/2015
The full consultation document can be found below:
Introduction by the Chair of the Statement of Action Committee (SOAC) and
Principal of University Academy Kidsgrove
The SOAC of the University Academy Kidsgrove with the support of the Directors of the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT), following much discussion, has decided to consult on the proposal not to recruit new sixth form students from September 2017. If agreed, the proposal would mean that the sixth form at University Academy Kidsgrove would close at the end of August 2017. It would only affect the sixth form and not mean any changes to the rest of the academy.
The future of school sixth forms has been highlighted in the media for some time, particularly in the light of recent changes in the way post-16 students are funded in schools and colleges. The funding has gradually declined over the last two years and this had particular impact on small sixth forms.
The average sixth form college has around 1,700 students, while the average school sixth form has over 200. Economies of scale apply, so it is more expensive per student for schools to provide a sixth form and they may have to subsidise sixth form students from other funding, such as that for 11 to 16-year-old students. The Department of Education recognises that sixth forms with less than 200 students are at risk of not being viable financially. University Academy Kidsgrove currently has a total of 9 students in the sixth form and, since it was established in June 2013, has never had more than 54.
The current numbers are too small to produce courses that are viable educationally and economically at UAK. Also, a small sixth form does not provide as broad a social experience, nor is it as easy to prepare students for the wider environment of higher education or the work place. To overcome this, over the last few years UAK has been a member of the Trinity Consortium, a group of secondary schools that provides a key stage five curriculum across the group and the needs of any students that chose to register for sixth form provision at UAK have been met through this consortium. The number of students registering at UAK for post-16 provision has continued to decline and all students leaving Year 11 in summer 2015 chose to register at another establishment. This has meant that it was no longer financially viable for UAK to remain a member of the Trinity Consortium and formal notice was given in September 2015 of withdrawal at the end of this academic year.
Each student has unique needs but overall these factors have affected the demand for sixth form places at our academy. In reaching the decision to consult on the future of the sixth form, governors want the best options and learning experiences for our students and have concluded that closure is the right option.
Changing the age range from 11-18 to 11-16 will allow resources to be focused on improving the learning experiences and outcomes for years 7 to 11 in the main academy. Our aim is to become an outstanding 11-16 academy and to do so we believe that we must concentrate our energies and expertise on that age range.
This consultation will run from 2nd November 2015 to 4th January 2016 and will give parents, students, staff and other local stakeholders the opportunity to let us know what they think. We will be holding open surgeries at the Academy on Thursday 12 November – 5.00 pm – 6.00 pm Monday 23 November – 6.00 pm – 7.00 pm and representatives from UCAT and the staff of the
University Academy Kidsgrove will be available to answer individual concerns on a one to one basis. Your views are important to us, so please either complete and return the attached form by the 4th January 2016 or email the academy at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In their planning for the future strategic direction of the academy, the Governors and the Board of UCAT will consider all responses in their final decision about whether or not to close the sixth form.
Charles Nevin | Andy Bygrave
Chair of SOAC | Interim Principal