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Proposal to close the Sixth Form

Manchester Enterprise Academy Sixth Form Consultation

Consultation on a proposal to close the Sixth Form 

The Trustees of the Prospere Learning Trust are seeking to consult on the proposal not to recruit new sixth form students from September 2021 at Manchester Enterprise Academy.  Students already in Year 12 would complete their studies in the summer of 2022 and then the sixth form would close.

Why we are proposing to close the Sixth Form?

When MEA opened in 2010, a sixth form was created as part of the provision with the aim of meeting the needs of students who were not yet ready to make the transition to larger colleges within the area.  We always worked closely with employers and local businesses to provide a range of opportunities for post-16 students, but our sixth form numbers across both years 12 and 13 never exceeded 52.  Currently there are 13 students in Year 13 and 18 in Year 12.

Over time, as the educational and pastoral provision has improved across the academy, we have had fewer students that feel unable to make the transition to larger colleges at the end of Year 11.  This, coupled with the small number of courses available to students in our sixth form, means that the number of students joining our sixth form are no longer sufficient to make the sixth form a viable proposition.  We currently offer three main Level 3 BTEC courses, but the numbers are simply not large enough for this to be able to continue.

MEA has also had to subsidise the sixth form from a range of funding streams as the number of 6th form students has never been sufficient to make it financially sustainable in the long term.  Whilst this level of subsidy has been acceptable to the academy in the past, with the increased numbers lower down the school we no longer consider this to be appropriate.

There is also little political appetite for schools to continue to offer sixth form provision for small numbers of students.  Any institution wanting to create a new sixth form must provide places for a minimum of 200 students.  This is more than MEA would ever be able to offer in its sixth form without a building expansion programme.

Finally, as MEA continues to attract more students in Years 7 to 11, we need to use the space currently utilised by the sixth form to alleviate pressure of rooming lower down the school.

Current Year 12 students

Current Year 12 students will complete their courses at MEA as planned and finish in the summer of 2022.  We will continue to provide the high level of support and guidance necessary to help all of them progress to a suitable future destination such as university, employment or further training.

Impact on current MEA students

We are proud of our CEIAG provision at MEA and will continue to ensure all students progress to a suitable future destination at the end of Year 11.  The majority of our students already move to a local college successfully.  All of the courses currently offered in the sixth form are available at more than one local institution and would be able to accommodate the small number of students that would be affected in future.

Closing the sixth form will have no changes on the numbers we can accommodate in years 7 – 11.  We do not foresee any financial costs associated with closing the sixth form.

How to make your views known

The consultation period runs until March 23rd, 2021 at 1pm.  We are seeking the views of parents / carers and all stakeholders to help the Trust Board make an informed decision.  We would welcome your views via the following channels:

Online:  You can complete our online survey here

By Post:  You can return a hard copy of our survey to MEA, Simonsway, Wythenshawe, M22 9RH.

In Person:  Unfortunately, due to current restrictions we are not able to facilitate in person meetings.  However, we will be holding a virtual meeting on March 4th, 2021 starting at 4pm.  Register your interest here. 

Following the end of the consultation process, the Prospere Learning Trust will consider a report on the proposal and take into account any feedback received during the consultation.  It will then make a formal decision regarding the proposal based on recommendations contained in the report.  This decision will then be communicated to the Regional Schools Commissioner for deliberation.  The final decision will be implemented once approval has been received from the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond to this important issue.

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