School announces sixth form closure due to drop in numbers

Leeds West Academy, Rodley, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Leeds West Academy, Rodley, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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A Leeds school has announced plans to discontinue its sixth form provision next year as a result of a drop in applications.

Leeds West Academy, in Rodley, part of the White Rose Academies Trust, says it has concluded that a “sixth form provision beyond 2019 cannot be satisfactorily offered with the exacting standards and expectations which the academy presently delivers”.

However, it stressed the closure would follow full completion of all courses by its present Year 12 and Year 13 cohort.

Principal Christian Wilcocks said: “It is with deep regret that we announce the eventual closure of our sixth form in summer 2019. This is on no account a reflection of our current students and staff, who work tirelessly to achieve remarkable results.

“We do, however, realise that we must realistically offer the highest standard of education now and in the future. Our forecasts have shown that we cannot maintain overheads of a decreasing sixth form provision without drawing precious resource from across the school. With that in mind, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to concentrate our energies and expertise on our 11 to 16 age range.”

Mr Wilcocks also blamed a decline in funding for post-16 education, which has had a particular impact on small sixth forms, such as Leeds West, which only has 170 students on roll.

He said: “As we have a limited resource at our disposal for sixth form, the breadth of subjects cannot always be offered.”