Lancaster sixth form to be axed next year

Photo Neil Cross Nicola Hall, head of Central Lancaster High School
Photo Neil Cross Nicola Hall, head of Central Lancaster High School

A Lancaster high school will no longer provide a sixth form from next year due to education budget cuts and a lack of interest.

Lancashire County Council has approved plans for Central Lancaster High School (CLHS) to close its sixth form from August 2018.

The Department for Education’s minimum requirement for a sixth form is 200 places, however this year the school’s sixth form had 62 students.

Councillors heard that the minimum number of subjects required is 15, but in the last full academic year, students undertook courses in nine subject areas. A report states there is little interest from students in progressing to the school’s sixth form, and the provision on offer is available at other post-16 providers in the Lancaster area.

The report said: “There is a concern that running courses for a small number of students is not financially viable.

“As the number of 16-19 year olds attending CLHS is minimal and the other post 16 providers in the local area offer the same courses as part of their provision, the local authority does not believe that there will be an adverse impact on participation, should CLHS not offer sixth form provision in the future.”

Nicola Hall, headteacher at CLHS, said: “Excellent progression opportunities for all our students are very important to us; our students have access to a wide range of Good and Outstanding academic A-level, vocational Level 2/3 programmes and apprenticeships within and around Lancaster. Significant cuts to education budgets and most significantly changes to post 16 funding over recent years have meant that small schools are not able to deliver the wide range of sixth form courses which our students richly deserve and seek.

“We are absolutely committed to supporting all of our students by ensuring we offer them the best possible 11-16 teaching within a broad and balanced curriculum which prepares them well for progression to their chosen further education choices.

“We have close working relationships with all the post 16 providers in Lancaster, and further afield including Myerscough College, and we will continue to ensure every student accesses personalised advice and guidance to enable them to make informed choices about their future studies.

“We are developing new aspects of our curriculum offer from September, especially in the fields of engineering, technology and construction and will be introducing new subjects to our school to ensure that every student reaches their potential and shines.”

An open evening will be held on September 14 between 6pm and 8pm.