End of the line for sixth form centre in Calderdale

Todmorden High School.
Todmorden High School.

The end of the line for Todmorden High School’s sixth form has been confirmed.

Changes to funding from the government and a lack of students has led the school and Calderdale Council to decide the sixth form is no longer financially viable.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet this week confirmed the decision, citing changes to the way schools are financed by central government.

At the meeting, Todmorden councillor Susan Press said: “This is not something we would have done unless we had no other option.”

“It is not good but the reason this is happening is because of changes to government funding.”

Changes to the funding of sixth forms within schools, and other reductions in public sector spending, meant the school had to review its finances to ensure income met expenditure.

A report considered by cabinet members said: “A sixth form probably needs a minimum of 200 students to be financially sustainable.

“Anything smaller than this usually operates on a restricted curriculum offer and a level of subsidy from the wider schools budget. Currently there are 116 students attending the Todmorden sixth form provision.”

The report noted that some head teachers consider that 300 students are now required to make a sixth form financially viable.

The nearest to Todmorden is now at Calder Valley High.

When the decision was announced by the school late last year, executive head teacher Chris Taylor said: “I would like to reassure all current year 12 and 13 students, and their parents, that they will continue to receive the same high quality education until they finish their respective courses. However, unfortunately, we will not be able admit any new students in the future.

“We are in the process of developing links with sixth form providers both within and beyond Calderdale to ensure that our current students will be able to continue their studies after their GCSEs.

“This has been a very difficult decision to take, but as a result of the review our governors have reluctantly come to the conclusion that our sixth form is no longer financially viable.

“Our Year 11s will be our priority and we will provide them with information, support and guidance over the remaining months to make sure that they find the provision that is right for them,” he added.