Doubts have been raised about the opening of a new dedicated Halifax sixth form centre scheduled to be finished by September 2019.
The leader of Calderdale Council Councillor Tim Swift was asked for an update on the scheme at the former Halifax Central Library by Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) at the full Council meeting.
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“My understanding is we’re not going to be opening in September this year,” he said. “What contingency plans are in place for where our sixth formers can go?”
He had heard another popular sixth form centre had been oversubscribed, he said.
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Coun Swift said he did not wish to speculate ahead of an imminent board meeting of the Northgate project, not about over-subscription of other sixth form places, but “we will think very carefully about contingency plans.”
Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town), has previously said a sixth form college would fill a gap in the borough’s current education provision, providing a new offer of post-16 education for Calderdale’s young people.
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In recent years the district has been losing pupils to out-of-area specialist sixth form colleges in places including Huddersfield, Burnley and Rochdale, while some remaining sixth forms were having to subsidise post-16 education out of their 11-16s budgets, with falling rolls.
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The Council is working with Trinity Multi-Academy Trust and Rastrick High School on the expanded sixth form offer, which will initially include 600 places for post-16 students from across Calderdale and beyond.
The sixth form centre was expected be open to students by autumn 2019. This will help to meet the Council’s need to find an additional 675 secondary school place.