Parents invited to comment on plans to close Portslade sixth form for two years

PACAprincipal Mark Poston
PACAprincipal Mark Poston

A consultation on the temporary closure of a sixth form in Portslade begins today (January 30).

Earlier this month, Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) announced it would be looking to suspend its sixth form for two years until 2022.

Portslade sixth form could close for two years
This would mean the sixth form would not take on new students this coming September.

The school said no current students will be affected by the proposal, and those who started at the sixth form last year would finish their studies as usual in 2020.

PACA's principal said he hoped to reopen the sixth form in 2022 with a new and improved offering, but said as it stands with fewer than 100 pupils it is running at a financial deficit.

A consultation on the plans starts today (January 30) and will run until Tuesday (March 19). The school will hold consultation events on Monday, February 4 between 3pm and 7pm and on Tuesday, February 5 from 5pm to 7pm.

PACA principal Mark Poston said: "We hope as many members of the community the academy serves, and as many parents and students as possible will take part in this consultation

"We are very proud of the achievements of our sixth form students and the contribution they make to our school life, and this is not a decision we have wanted to be faced with. Without sufficient student applications or funding from elsewhere to cover the predicted sixth form deficit we have no option but to look seriously at this. We have been conscious of the decision taken in 2017 to end sixth form provision at nearby Blatchington Mill School, and are working with colleagues in the Local Authority and neighbouring schools on this.

"A successful sixth form requires an ambitious combination of breadth and depth of subject offer. In the current funding climate, it also requires student numbers that balance the costs of provision. PACA 6 currently has 28 applications to join in September. The predicted level of enrolment until 2022 does not show a substantial increase from this number.

"We have a duty to provide the best possible education for all of our students. Sadly, in the light of these predicted numbers, we simply could not offer the range of courses or the social aspect of larger colleges that a good sixth form education needs, and continuing to operate a small sixth form at a deficit would then also impact the resources available to all other students at the academy.

"Our Ofsted 'good' rating and success in examination results has meant that PACA has become an increasingly popular choice for parents and students for Year 7 entry in recent years. By 2022 the larger year groups currently in years 7 and 8 will have progressed through the academy, giving us the foundation to re-open the PACA Sixth Form."

To find out more about the plans and to give your view, visit: www.paca.uk.com