Sixth Form Consultation Document
Stockport Academy students, parents of Stockport Academy students, Stockport Academy staff, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, MP for Stockport and local councillors, Stockport Secondary Schools and Colleges, Trade Unions.
9th September 2016
Deadline for Responses:
7th October 2016
Frank McCarron - Stockport Academy Principal
David Robinson - Chair of Governors
Sixth Form Consultation, Stockport Academy, Heathbank Road, Cheadle Heath, Stockport, SK3 0UP
Email - email@example.com
Tel: 0161 286 0330
We would like to hear what you think about the proposal for this school. We are holding an initial meeting for all interested parties at Stockport Academy on 29th September at 6.00pm. Further meetings will subsequently be scheduled if required.
United Learning and Stockport Academy are opening a period of formal consultation on the future of the sixth form provision at Stockport Academy.
The Proposal: To indefinitely suspend the sixth form at Stockport Academy with effect from August 2017.
The school could:
a. Do nothing, and continue to divert 11-16 funding to heavily subsidise the sixth form. This creates the risk of not being able to provide as rich and varied a curriculum or experience for either 11-16 students or post-16 students.
b. Indefinitely suspend the sixth form at Stockport Academy with effect from August 2017 on the basis that it is not financially viable. More support can then be provided to students to find alternative solutions for post-16 education.
There will be no changes to Admission criteria. They will stay the same as is currently published.
The consultation period will run for four weeks, from 9th September 2016 to 7th October 2016.
An initial consultation event will be held at Stockport Academy on 29th September at 6.00 pm in the school hall (via main reception). Further events will be arranged on a needs-led basis.
Views are welcome on the above proposal by the deadline date of 7th October 2016. A consultation response form has been included at the end of this document for your convenience.
Stockport Academy is an 11-18 academy situated in the Edgeley and Cheadle Heath ward of Stockport. It serves the estates of Adswood, Bridgehall and Swythamley and nearby community. The current size (pupil numbers) of the academy in total is 722 pupils. This includes 29 Year 13 pupils and 0 Year 12 pupils.
The academy opened in 2007 without a sixth form. The sixth form was opened in September 2008 with a Published Admission Number (PAN) of 250 and was intended to serve the Year 11 pupils from Stockport Academy as well as attracting other students in the area. The aim was to offer a good mix of academic and vocational qualifications.
Stockport Academy has been significantly below PAN since opening, achieving its highest cohort at 61% of PAN in 2012, with no yearly Year 11 cohort exceeding 152, around 84% of the (Year 11) PAN and with the lowest cohort at 124 or 68% of PAN. Highest conversion from Year 11 to 12 has been 51%, and numbers have been low as a result. With these small numbers it has not been possible to provide a sufficiently wide educational offer or suitably rich and fulfilling sixth form experience.
Despite recruitment initiatives, pupil numbers in the sixth form have rarely exceeded 80, and projected numbers into the future for the sixth form are around 70-75 across Year 12 and 13 combined. These low numbers mean there is little the Academy can do to broaden the curriculum offer and existing Year 13 students were only able to choose from a limited option base.
Facing a national reduction in sixth form funding alongside low student numbers in the sixth form, the school has been diverting 11-16 funding to significantly subsidise the sixth form. This has created pressure on the main school budget and, despite this investment in the sixth form, the Academy has not been able to provide a rich and varied curriculum or experience for post-16 pupils due to small numbers. In order for post-16 courses to be viable there is a need to have class sizes of at least 12 students – currently a number of courses are running with class sizes as low as 1.
Looking ahead, the Academy is facing three Year 11 cohorts averaging 58% of the PAN. If we continue to recruit at 40% and apply average retention rates (66%) it is likely we could only secure sixth form numbers of around a third of the PAN (approx. 70 students).
The Academy attempted to recruit to the sixth form in September 2015, but numbers expressing an interest were sufficiently low so that we could not offer a sufficiently broad educational offer and the decision was taken not to offer places for Year 12 in September 2016. All students who expressed an interest found suitable post-16 courses of study elsewhere.
The proposal will not have any effect on our current 6th form students who will continue with their sixth form studies at Stockport Academy.
The indefinite suspension, if implemented, would enable us to target Academy resources more effectively on Years 7-11.
At present, pupils in the Academy who wish to progress to post-16 study have the choice from a good range and standard of provision locally, particularly at Aquinas and Cheadle & Marple colleges. The Academy already has good working relationships with local alternative providers who are of good or better quality, easily accessible, and provide a breadth of subjects and the opportunity to interact with a larger peer group.
The Academy would continue with its existing programme of activities to ensure that Year 11 students are aware of their options and are able to access education elsewhere, to minimise the risk of them becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). This work already exists and would be further strengthened.
The space currently used for the sixth form would be reconfigured and utilised to further develop provision for students in Years 7 to 11.
It is the intention that staff currently allocated to the sixth form would be redeployed into teaching within the rest of the school. The academy and the HR Business Partner will work with the Trade Unions to ensure that staffing reduction is managed through natural wastage and non-replacement. All staff working in the sixth form also work at KS4 level.
A public meeting led by the Principal, Mr Frank McCarron and the Chair of Governors, Mr David Robinson, will be held on 29th September 2016 at 6.00 p.m. in the Academy. This will provide an opportunity to discuss the proposal and ask any questions related to the potential indefinite suspension of the sixth form.
How to Respond
A response form is at the end of this document for your convenience. Responses can be posted to Sixth Form Consultation, Stockport Academy, Heathbank Road, Cheadle Heath, Stockport, SK3 0UP or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens after 7th October 2016, when the consultation period ends?
All the responses to the consultation will be considered carefully. If the Academy and United Learning decide to proceed with the indefinite suspension of the sixth form, then a formal request is made to the Department for Education for their approval.