OLDBURY ACADEMY Proposal to close the Sixth Form – Consultation Document
I am writing to consult with staff, students, parents and other stakeholders on the proposal not to recruit new Sixth Form students from September 2020 (or potentially September 2019 with DfE approval) into Oldbury Academy Sixth Form. This would mean that the Sixth Form would close when the current Year 13 students complete their studies in August 2019.
The rationale for the Closure of the Sixth Form
The uncertain future of school Sixth Forms has been highlighted in the media over many months and particularly in the light of the budget changes to post 16 funding, which has substantially declined in recent years.
While schools and Sixth Form colleges receive the same cash per student, economies of scale mean it is more expensive per student for schools to provide Sixth Form provision than a Sixth Form or FE college. Many secondary schools are unable to provide the breadth of courses that larger establishments can offer, including a wide range of A Level subjects that students require. Consequently, the demand for places in our Sixth Form is limited, with most students in Year 11 choosing to go elsewhere for post 16 provision. This means that we do not have the same number of students per class, making the courses we do offer expensive to run.
As a result, the Academy has to subsidise the Sixth Form from reserves and other funding streams such as that for 11 to 16-year-olds.
In August 2018, we had too few students sign up to join Year 12 in our Sixth Form in September. As a result, we were unable to run courses. The few students who were intending to progress into Year 12 at Oldbury Academy were successfully supported by staff in finding alternative provision.
Oldbury Academy Sixth Form has never had more than 140 students on roll. Therefore, given the DfE view that a Sixth Form facility requires a minimum of 200 students to be financially and educationally viable, Oldbury Academy Sixth Form provision is not financially sustainable. We have to take account of the needs and priorities of the majority of students at Oldbury Academy.
Taking into account the range of factors above, this consultation proposes that Oldbury Academy Sixth Form will close when the current Year 13 students complete their studies in August 2019.