Now that pupils who start Year 9 in September will be expected to stay in some form of full time education or training until they reach the age of 18, Swindon schools are considering ways of providing courses and training opportunities beyond GCSEs taken in Year 11.
Greendown, Nova Hreod and Crowdys Hill Special School are developing a consortium called WS6 to offer courses to West and North Swindon pupils.
Greendown headteacher Clive Zimmerman, pictured right, explained that the Swindon Association of Secondary Headteachers and the college principals agree that a single school sixth form would not be able to add significantly to current provision. “We’ve been looking at the collaborative approach for 14 to 19 education, as can be seen at places like Kingswood in South Gloucestershire, where pupils can access a wide range of courses at more than one learning centre.
“Pooling students across institutions is also an effective way of maintaining less popular courses in tight financial times.”
He added that the proposal would give a significant boost to education in West Swindon and would offer a local alternative to pupils who currently decide to go to Cirencester. It would do much to raise aspirations in the area and is achievable within the timeframe of the Raising Participation Age legislation.
Mr Zimmerman said, “this proposal represents a huge opportunity for all West Swindon pupils. Our goal is to offer a high quality provision that keeps West Swindon students learning locally.”
The proposal now being considered by Swindon Council’s Children Services is part of the borough response to the Raising of the Participation Age legislation which is expected towards the end of the year.
• The June Link reported that Isambard School is preparing a proposal to create 6th Form provision in North Swindon, possibly in new buildings in the Tadpole Farm development, north of Redhouse. This has yet to be considered for outline planning permission.
Pictured right, The Mayor and Mayoress with Julie Tridgell, headteacher of Nova Hreod School