A petition has been launched to keep Trinity Catholic School in Leamington’s sixth form open for another year after it has been revealed that is under threat of closure.
Last week, the school launched a consultation with parents and pupils over plans to stop new admissions into its sixth form from September this year, citing funding issues and a declining number of students as the reasons.
This would mean that students currently in Year 11 at the secondary school would not be able study for A-Level qualifications there.
Current Year 12 and 13 students would still be able to complete their sixth form education at the school over the next two years.
In response to this an online petition has been launched by Oliver Webb and has almost gained the 1,000 signatures needed for it to go to parliament.
Mr Webb, and those who have signed the petition, want the closure of the sixth form to be suspended by a further year, which would allow current Year 11 pupils to study A Levels there and pupils in lower years more time to assess where they would like to study after they sit their GCSE exams.
The petition says: “Understandably, cuts must be made in order to keep our local school running.
“However, through both lack of time and awareness of the situation, Year 11 students in particular now have to make the integral decision about where to go for their further education, a choice that should’ve been made months ago.
“The closure not only affects Year 11 students, but staff and all the students that have long been looking forward to continuing their education at such a unique and outstanding establishment.
“The continuation of Trinity’s sixth form for a further year, allowing Year 11 students to alleviate their evident anxiety and continue their education, has been the proposed solution.
“This solves both the issue of funding, whilst considering the needs of Year 11 students.”
In its consultation document for parents and pupils, the school has said: “Trinity has experienced varied funding pressures at all levels, but particularly around cost effective delivery of post-16 education (Sixth Form).
“This has made it increasingly difficult to sustain Trinity’s sixth form provision on student numbers that have fallen to only 111 in total - 155 being acknowledged as the breakeven point based on current average income for students.
“Trinity Sixth Form has an annual staff cost of £751,202.
“Funding per student has fallen from £4,933 in 2012 to a projected figure of £4,260 by 2017
and whilst this sum is “protected”, in real terms it will fall.
“A proportionate allocation of “fixed” costs would increase the annual cost of Sixth Form, including staff to £1.3 million.
“There is a national move towards fewer, larger, more resilient and efficient post-16 providers.
“As a small sixth form, the school is finding it increasingly more difficult to compete with the much larger sixth forms and the Further Education College (Warwickshire) in the area.
“This is reflected in our projected sixth form numbers for the next four years.”
“A move to temporarily remove the sixth form provision will enable us to increase the quality of our students’ experiences across Key Stage 3 and 4 within the school.
“We are proud of our sixth form achievements and their post Trinity destinations to date but unfortunately with the funding that the school receives, it is difficult for Trinity to continue this provision.
“Many schools across the UK with sixth form provisions are currently facing similar decisions.
“The present proposal is to temporarily close the sixth form to any new entrants from
September 1 2017, with the current Year 12 completing their sixth form education and taking
their A-Level exams in June 2018.
“This is to address the substantial financial drain that the sixth form is having on the budget.”
Drop-in community information forums are being held at the school where parents and pupils can respond to the consultation, which ends on Friday March 10.
These are taking place on Wednesday (February 15) from 6pm to 7pm, Thursday March 2 from noon to 1pm and Tuesday March 7 from 6pm to 7pm.
School leaders and governors will be available at each forum to respond to queries and concerns.
Responses to the consultation can also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter marked ‘Trinity Catholic School Sixth Form Proposal’ and posted to: Trinity Catholic School, Guy’s Cliffe Avenue, Leamington Spa, Warks, CV32 6NB.
To sign the petition, which will be sent to Prime Minister Theresa May, click here.