Heads rap bid for sixth form

Principal Michael Gosling welcomes staff and students at the opening of the newly built Trinity Academy in Holmfield, Halifax.

Principal Michael Gosling welcomes staff and students at the opening of the newly built Trinity Academy in Holmfield, Halifax.

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A letter signed by eight headteachers across Calderdale has raised concerns about proposals to open a new sixth form college in Halifax.

Plans for the 1,000-place college to be overseen by Trinity Academy were revealed in July, and if funding is granted, the college will open within the next three years in central Halifax.

The letter was signed by heads at Brighouse High School, Calder High School, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and Sports College, Ryburn Valley High School, Brooksbank School Sports College, Crossley Heath School and North Halifax Grammar School

They wrote that Trinity Academy has “no proven track record” of success with sixth form provision.

They said: “Post-16 provision needs experience and expertise and the lack of this is a grave concern.

“The process was mishandled and has resulted in a lack of trust and confidence.”

They added that the failure to include other heads in the drawing up of plans was in their opinion “irresponsible.”

They also said that the new college could lead to the closure of other sixth form providers in the borough.

They said: “The potential impact on other providers cannot be ignored.

“Small sixth forms could be forced to close and provision would need to be developed especially for those students on “non-academic” programme who would not be accommodated in the new college.”

Michael Gosling, principal of Trinity Academy responded in writing to the letter.

He said: “We lose over 1,200 students every year to neighbouring authorities, predominantly Kirklees.

“Post-16 underperformance in Calderdale has been allowed to go unchallenged for too long.

“Right now, we have a golden opportunity to transform it for generations to come.”