Wensleydale School announces plan to suspend sixth form for two further years

The Wensleydale School has announced plans to suspend its sixth form for two further academic years from September 2023.

The school had already halted the sixth form from September 2022 for a year after concerns were raised about the provision by Ofsted inspectors.

The school has launched a consultation on the decision to suspect for two more years to stakeholders, including parents, governors and staff.

Headteacher Julia Polley said, “While we are immensely proud of the achievements of our sixth form students over the past four years, we believe it is in the best interest of both the school and its students to focus all our attention and resources on continuing to provide excellent secondary education for the children of Wensleydale.

“For those students wishing to pursue post-16 education, we will be working closely with other sixth form providers to ensure a smooth transition.”

The school’s most recent Ofsted report, published in July, saw it maintain its good grading.

However, the report noted that its sixth form provision required improvement under special circumstances.

School leaders say that with the government’s withdrawal of BTECs it has been difficult to offer a curriculum with the sufficient breadth required, and inspectors highlighted the post 16 offering had ‘narrowed’ and acknowledged this was ‘in part due to financial constraints’.

The school noted that all students who have studied BTECs through the Business and Innovated Centre over the past four years have gone on to industry and higher education destinations, having gained hands-on work experience and mentoring by local businesses.

Julia added: “This has not been an easy decision to take and at present we are only proposing a temporary closure of the sixth form.

“We will use this time to consider our options.

“In the meantime, we very much look forward to receiving the responses to the consultation.”

The consultation will run from September 26 to October 24.