Following St Joseph Catholic College’s announcement last Wednesday 15 March of proposals to close down its Sixth Form from August 2018, the Principal Paul Hughes is keen to stress that the College is doing everything it can to ensure current year 11 students are being properly supported in finding an alternative Sixth Form or Further Education College place.
Mr Hughes said : "We have been speaking to providers of Sixth Form in the area and have gained their assurance that they are able to make places available for St Joseph’s year 11 students this coming September. There is a session planned on Thursday 23 March for providers to come into the College and talk to the students to help them make their decisions."
Declining numbers of Sixth Form applicants, coupled with changes in funding for post-16 education have led the board of governors of St Joseph’s to make the proposals, which are under consultation during the spring.
We are aware a petition to save the Sixth Form has been set up on change.org and currently has over 150 supporters, however, we would encourage people to use the official consultation.
Mr Hughes stated : "None of our current Sixth Form students will have their studies adversely affected by these proposals. Nor will any St Joseph’s students in Key Stage 3 or 4 be deprived of any opportunities as a result of the proposals.
Academic outcomes have not been as strong in the Sixth Form as in Years 7 - 11. Changing the age range from 11 - 18 to 11 - 16 will allow resources to be focused on improving the learning experiences and outcomes for these students.
Our aim is to become an outstanding 11 - 16 Catholic College, and to do so, we believe that we must concentrate our energies, resources and expertise on that age range.”
Two information sessions have been scheduled for parents and will take place next Monday 27 March from 5pm – 5.45pm and from 7pm – 7.45pm. Thereafter parents have until 2 May to submit their feedback on the proposals via the College website or via forms available at the College reception.
Governors at St. Joseph’s Catholic College will shortly begin consulting on a proposal to close its sixth form.
Following lengthy deliberation, it is with great regret, that the Governing Body of St. Joseph’s Catholic College, has decided to consult on the proposal not to run new sixth form courses from September 2017. Year 13 courses will proceed in 2017 but the proposal means that the sixth form would close at the end of August 2018.
The Principal and Chair of Governors explained the rationale behind the decision:
“Due to declining numbers and changes in funding in recent years it has becoming increasingly difficult to sustain a stable sixth form. Academic outcomes have not been as strong in the Sixth Form as in Years 7 - 11. Changing the age range from 11 - 18 to 11 - 16 will allow resources to be focused on improving the learning experiences and outcomes for these students. Our aim is to become an outstanding 11 - 16 Catholic College, and to do so, we believe that we must concentrate our energies, resources and expertise on that age range.”
It is important to note that none of our current students will be affected, and we will continue to give our full support to our current sixth form.
The future of school sixth forms has been highlighted in the media for some time, particularly in light of changes in the way Post 16 students are funded in schools. The Department for Education recognises that sixth forms with fewer than 200 students are at risk of not being viable. St Joseph’s sixth form currently has a total of 131 students in Year 12 and 13 combined. Current projections for September reduce this combined number to less than 100. The College has worked extremely hard to recruit, working with the other sixth form providers to increase the admission numbers, but to no avail.
Staff and parents of students have been informed of the move, and a four-week period of consultation will begin on 16th March 2017. Closing on the 2nd May. Feedback to the proposal must only be submitted by using the form available on the College website http://www.stjosephscollege.net or alternatively you may request a paper copy from the College reception. All consultations must be completed and returned by noon on Monday 2nd May. All responses will be considered by the governing body.
In order for you to ask any questions or further understand the Governing Body’s decision, we are holding two parents information sessions. You may wish to attend one of the sessions before responding to the consultation. They will take place at the College as follows:
Parent Forums: Monday 27th March: 5.00 – 5.45pm and 7 – 7.45pm
Click here to download the letter sent out to parents.
Click here to download the consultation form