Halifax sixth-form college backers say district has ‘clear need’

Head teachers James Franklin-Smith, left, and Steve Evans
Head teachers James Franklin-Smith, left, and Steve Evans

The leaders at two schools spearheading the development of a Halifax Sixth Form college have said there is a clear need for a specialist centre for post-16 provision in the borough.

Calderdale Council revealed plans to create a college on the former Central library in Halifax and Northgate house site.

The authority has now agreed in principle to work with Rastrick High School and Trinity Academy to turn the plan into a reality.

Principal at Trinity Academy Halifax, James Franklin-Smith said this was an exciting, joint programme led by two schools with excellent reputations for high standards.
“We have been pursuing the option of opening a 6th Form college in Halifax town centre for a couple of years for two main reasons.

"The first is the clear need for outstanding specialist post-16 provision in our local area.

"The second is that it will also allow both schools to free up space within existing buildings, therefore enabling us to offer more secondary school places in our respective local communities.”

The building will be extensively refurbished and Steve Evans, head teacher at Rastrick High School said the central location will provided significantly more post 16 places with a much broader choice of academic and vocational courses than both schools can currently offer.

Headteacher of Rastrick High School, Steve Evans said, “This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the school to shape and positively influence the education of the young people of Rastrick and the wider area for years to come.

"There is a clear need for an outstanding specialist post 16 provider in Calderdale; alongside this both very successful schools need to provide capacity for the growing number of 11 to 16 year old children in our respective local communities.”

The proposed opening date for the new site is September 2019.

Both schools will continue to provide high quality post-16 provision to ensure students make the progress that will enable them to make the next step to university, employment or apprenticeships.

The schools guarantee that any students enrolled in 2018, onto a two-year course, will have a seamless transition to the new college.

Yvonne Carr, president of the Calderdale National Edeucation Union welcomed the investment but had concerns.

"The NEU welcomes any investment in education, and there are many advantages to be offered by a larger sixth form college, such as increased curriculum choices for students," she said.

"However, it is difficult to see how the proposals could be implemented without job losses in existing schools and we would also be looking for reassurances that teachers' pay and conditions would be maintained.

Parents may also be concerned that children will have to travel further to access sixth form provision."