The senior leadership team of Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy has confirmed that its sixth form will close at the end of this academic year, leaving a whole year group to find other arrangements for their final year of A-levels.
The school said after a review of sixth form provisions due to a reduction in sixth form funding, the academy has made the ‘difficult but necessary decision’ to close its sixth form from September 2016.
A spokesperson said: “Due to the significant surplus of places in the locality and funding pressures, sixth form student numbers at the academy are too low to make the sixth form viable. Head teacher union ASCL has highlighted the issues facing many institutions offering post-16 education, with lower levels “putting the financial health of many school sixth forms and colleges at risk”.
“Teaching and learning for both Year 12 and Year 13 students will be unaffected for all this academic year. Year 13 students will complete their studies as normal with the full support of the academy. Year 12 will also be able to complete their courses to the end of this academic year. The academy is liaising with students, parents and other providers to ensure that they can make a smooth transition into other institutions for 2016, at which there are significant numbers of spaces available,” the school confirmed.
Principal Dave Smith said: “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.”
Carlton Midgeley, Chair of Governors said: “The governing body has a priority to provide a high quality education to all of our students and this move will enable us to increase the quality of our students’ experiences across the academy.
“We are proud of our sixth form achievements to date, but unfortunately we do not have the funding to continue this provision. The academy is working with sixth form students to ensure that their education continues at the high level they deserve.”
Councillor Val Custance, the Mayor of Erewash who sits on the OIA’s governing body, said: “Over the years the sixth form at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy has been a great place for our students to learn and prepare for success in the next chapter of their lives but funding changes mean that the numbers attending are sadly no longer enough to make it viable.
“It will ensure that we are able to concentrate on the long-term needs of the academy’s 11-16 provision so that standards are as high as possible.”
The decision will ensure that ‘a greater emphasis can be placed on the long-term needs of students in Years 7 to 11, and so that they continue to receive a first-class education’, said bosses, although numerous sixth form students have told the Advertiser how valuable they have found their smaller classes which saw a 100 per cent pass rate last year.
The school said 44 per cent of pupils at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy achieved five A*-C grades, including English and maths, up three percentage points on last year and 20 percentage points up since Ormiston became the sponsor.