Two schools have agreed to step in and open their doors to emergency admissions as worried sixth formers face insecurity in their education.
Following today’s (October 7) announcement that Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy will close its sixth form department at the end of the academic year, students have slammed the school for ‘abandoning’ them at the end of AS-levels, leaving them to find places at other schools for the second year of A-level.
But Head of Bramcote College James MacDonald said the greater fear was that some students would fall out of education all together.
He said: “That’s the worst thing that could happen.
“We don’t want to see any anyone have to take a forced gap year, and we want them to start their A-levels straight after their GCSEs - it’s so important for their CV and for future employment.
So the school is now offering emergency appointments to get students transferred as quickly as possible if they need to move.
Mr MacDonald added: “They’ve lost a month but it’s not irretrievable by any stretch of the imagination, most subjects are across two years now, and while some texts may be different some will be the same, the sciences certainly are.
“And we know there are some students who live this side of Ilkeston so coming to Bramcote College may be closer for them. For others, if they have to travel further it’s a small penalty to pay.
This is a desperate time for the students, he continued, but it was important they didn’t worry about their options and knew help was available.
“We’re pretty full but this is an exceptional case, we would have to increase the size of some classes.
“I genuinely hope that between us and Kirk Hallam we can accomodate every single student.”
Kirk Hallam Community Academy has already agreed to open places for late students with appointments tomorrow to discuss admissions.
Head teacher Martin Ebbage said: “We have been informed this morning that the sixth form at OIEA will close in July 2016 and are currently receiving phone calls from parents.
“We are now urgently arranging appointments for you to come and discuss next steps this evening and tomorrow.”
One OIEA year 12 student has already said she is looking for a new school place immediately.
Corinne Barnett, 16, told the Advertiser: “We’ve only just got settled in and I’m going to have to look for somewhere else, I’m going to Heanor Gate tonight to try and get a place there because there’s no point carrying on at this school. I’m taking English at AS and if I was to move next year I’d need different books, the modules would be totally different.
Corinne, who lives in Shipley View, said she had her career path set out for her and was looking towards studying law at university and being a solicitor.
“I’m worried that my education will be seriously affected by this.”
Principal of OIEA Dave Smith said the school would be supporting all year-12 students in their progression
He added: “Funding changes have had a significant impact on our budgets, as they have for many schools facing similar decisions, and as such we simply cannot afford to keep the sixth form open.
“We have a responsibility to provide an outstanding education for our students and must ensure that we continue to do so,
“The academy’s Year 11 results are increasing and this decision enables us to put an even greater focus on the quality of teaching and learning for Years 7-11.
“We recognise that parents and students will be concerned and that we will do all we can to support them. We are designing an individual progression package for each of the lower sixth students as a priority. They will be able to complete all courses to the end of this academic year and we are working with them to find suitable high quality courses in the local area from 2016.”