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LWA Sixth Form Consultation 

Introduction and Background

 

Leeds West Academy is part of the White Rose Academies Trust (WRAT), sponsored by the Leeds City College Group.  This proposal and the associated consultation has been sanctioned by the WRAT Board, the Governing Body (Leeds West Academy Local Accountability Board (LWA LAB), and the Senior Leadership Team of Leeds West Academy, led by the Principal.

The future of school sixth forms has been highlighted in the media for some time, particularly in light of recent changes in the way post-16 students are funded in schools and colleges. The funding has gradually declined over the last two years, and this has had particular impact on small sixth forms. The average sixth form college has around 1,700 students, while the average school sixth form has a little over 200. Economies of scale apply, so it is more expensive per student for schools to provide a sixth form, meaning they often have to subsidise sixth form students from other funding streams, including that received for 11 to 16-year-old students.

The Department for Education recognises that sixth forms with fewer than 200 students are not financially viable. Historically, the Leeds West Academy Sixth Form has enrolled an average of 174 students in total, across Years 12 and 13.  The majority of students choose to apply to specialist Sixth Form providers across the City of Leeds and surrounding areas, as the breadth of programme and specialist facilities provide an attractive proposition to Year 11 students.  Recent enhancements of Post-16 provision across Leeds means there is even more choice for Year 11 school leavers, so competition is increasingly fierce.  Current applications to the Leeds West Academy Sixth Form are relatively low for enrolment in September 2018.  This means that many courses offered through our prospectus have received very few applicants, meaning that we are unable to provide the full breadth of courses offered. The current numbers, and the number of suitable applications for enrolment in September 2018, are too small to provide courses that are viable educationally and economically.

Principal’s Vision:  A world-class 11-16 Academy by 2020

Leeds West Academy, as part of the White Rose Academies Trust, has widely communicated its mission to become an outstanding Academy by 2020.  Beyond this, Leeds West has the ambition to become truly world-class.  We believe that, by investing significantly in our delivery of exceptional teaching and pastoral care and specialising in 11-16 education, we can achieve this vision, bringing with it the undisputable benefits to each and every student.  Not only will exceptional outcomes provide amazing opportunities for our students, an outstanding local school brings inward investment to the surrounding area.  When we achieve outstanding status, the transformation of our community will truly begin. 

 

 

Full Consultation Documentation

 

Online Consultation Response Form

 

Downloadable Response Form

 

What would closure mean for the current Year 13 students?

We have gone to great lengths to ensure every Year 13 student currently on roll, receives an outstanding education throughout their remaining time at Leeds West Academy.   A student in Year 13 has just a few months remaining before their final examinations.  None of the proposed changes to our Sixth Form provision will affect Year 13 students.  They will be prepared for their final examinations as planned, and we will ensure they are well supported during these final, crucial months. 

These students will be supported to secure destinations Post-18 as normal, through the Academy’s Information, Advice and Guidance programme. 

Year 13 letter to parents

 

What would closure mean for the current Year 12 students?

We have gone to great lengths to ensure every Year 12 student currently on roll, receives an outstanding education throughout their remaining year at Leeds West Academy. 

Students who are currently studying in Year 12 at Leeds West Academy will continue and complete their studies here.   The main difference for these students is that there are likely to be very few students joining the Sixth Form in Year 12 from September 2018. 

We will retain our existing pastoral and academic support structure for our remaining Sixth Form students.  With a smaller number of Sixth Form students, this means that the pastoral support and academic mentoring we can provide is even more personalised, meaning every remaining student will receive an incredible amount of dedicated support throughout their final year.  This will include exclusive one-to-one mentoring in securing excellent destinations at the end of their sixth form studies, whether this is University, College, Apprenticeship or the world of work. 

Year 12 letter to parents

 

What would closure mean for the current Year 11 students?

Students currently on roll who have applied to Leeds West Academy’s Sixth Form for enrolment into Year 12 in September 2018 will still be able to do so.  There will, however, be a reduced curriculum, governed by the enrolment of viable student numbers.  The sixth-form will close at the end of the 2019 academic year, meaning that new entrants to Sixth Form in September 2018 would need to transfer to an alternative provider at the end of Year 12.  As a result, it is anticipated that the majority of students who have applied to the Leeds West Academy Sixth Form will secure alternative providers for their Post-16 studies from September.

Every affected student will be supported in securing an appropriate pathway through their Post-16 studies.  Leeds West Academy has established strong links with high-quality and specialist Post-16 providers across the City of Leeds.

  • Information, advice and guidance has already started for all students who have applied to LWA’s Sixth Form. This relates to those students for whom the exact match of courses cannot be provided at Leeds West Academy.
  • Individualised support and advice will be offered to ensure an appropriate Post-16 destination for every student in current Year 11.
    • Initial guidance interview with an independent careers adviser
    • Supported exploration of Post-16 options, geared specifically to each individual student’s interests and career aspirations
    • Guaranteed interview with admissions tutors at their chosen provider (subject to admission criteria)
    • Secured reserve offer for every student to ensure a secured destination for their Sixth Form studies.
    • Independent travel training as required, with specific guidance in transport access to the chosen Post-16 provider as required.
    • Funded travel passes for those students who have applied to Leeds West Academy for September and meet the entry criteria (based on current teacher assessment).
  • Students who do express a preference to enrol for Year 12 in September 2018 will be supported in a planned transfer to an alternative provider who can offer a matched curriculum. This process will be secured within the Information, Advice and Guidance process as outlined above.
Year 11 letter to parents

 

What would closure mean for the current Year 7-10 students?

Leeds West Academy will not admit any students into its Sixth Form from September 2019.  But the closure of the sixth form allows us to focus our efforts on the delivery of an outstanding education for students in Years 7 to 11.  This will be crucial in securing strong examination results to ensure students can move on to their chosen Post-16 destinations. 

The maintenance of our Sixth Form is subsidised heavily by the funding received for students in Years 7-11.  The savings made by the closure of the Sixth Form will enable us to channel this money more efficiently, into our 11-16 classrooms.  This will mean:

  • Smaller class sizes: Teachers who previously taught sixth form lessons will be redeployed to teach in Years 7 to 11, meaning more teachers are available to deliver Year 7-11 lessons.  This means class sizes will reduce and your child will receive an even more personalised learning experience. 
  • Enhanced pastoral care: We plan to invest in the expansion of our pastoral team, to ensure every child benefits from outstanding care.  This will include an expansion of our Nurture Group provision, more pastoral and wellbeing staff who will be more readily available to support our students and respond to parental concerns as they arise. 
  • Improved learning resources:  The savings made by closing the Sixth Form means more funding can be channelled into Years 7-11.  This will include investment in innovative learning resources for all Year groups, as well as refreshed and expanded classroom resources such as text books, personalised exercise books and improved equipment for our specialist subjects.
  • Enhanced educational experience; an overseas visit for every student:  We have ambitious plans to enhance the educational experience for our students, broadening their horizons and raising their aspirations.  We plan to provide every student with the opportunity to experience an overseas education visit during their 5 years at Leeds West Academy.  The closure of the sixth form will enable us to allocate funding to subsidise these trips, ensuring every student can benefit, regardless of family financial circumstances.
Year 7 letter to parents
Year 8 letter to parents
Year 9 letter to parents
Year 10 letter to parents

 

What would closure mean for the Leeds West Academy staff?

We see the recruitment and retention of high quality staff as essential for the success our academy.   Many of our current staff are experienced in teaching students in Years 7-11, as well as delivering Post 16 courses.  The vast majority of academy staff currently involved in the delivery of post 16 courses will have the opportunity to remain with the academy and work wholly on the delivery of the 11-16 curriculum. 

As the specialist sixth-form curriculum reduces, there will be an associated reduction in demand for teaching staff engaged in teaching those courses.  It is anticipated that most of the surplus staffing time will be redeployed to the delivery of the 11-16 curriculum.

 

Consultation Process

Purpose of the consultation

Any proposal from schools or academies wishing to close a sixth-form provision must be approved by the Secretary of State for Education.  The Department for Educations specify that any consultation to close a Sixth Form must be published at least four months prior to the planned closure, and that the consultation period must last for a period of at least one month.

Members of the WRAT Board, the Governors of the Leeds West Academy Local Accountability Board and the Leaders of Leeds West Academy therefore invite comments from all stakeholders on the proposal set out in this paper.  All views expressed during this consultation will be reported to and considered by the governors and trustees after the consultation period has ended and will, on request, publish to parties who explicitly request this information.

The consultation process

This consultation will run from Tuesday 27th March 2018 to Friday 27th April 2018, during which time you are invited to respond to this proposal.  In order for you to ask any questions you need to inform your understanding of this decision, we are holding two Public Meetings. This will be an open Question and Answer session with the Principal, Executive Principal and Chair of the Local Accountability Board.   You may wish to attend one of these sessions before responding to the consultation.  They will take place at Leeds West Academy as follows:

  • Tuesday 17th April 2018. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
  • Thursday 19th April 2018. 6.00pm – 7.00pm

Interested parties are then invited to complete either the on-line consultation survey available via the Leeds West Academy Website, or alternatively, you may collect a paper copy of the consultation response form, available in the Visitors’ Reception at Leeds West Academy.

All consultations must be completed and returned by noon on Tuesday 1st May 2018.

A dedicated email address has been established, which will be monitored daily.  This will be used specifically for the consultation process, providing a forum through which to ask any questions you may have.  Please email LWAConsultation@whiteroseacademies.org,  to ask those questions that are important to you.  We will update the FAQ section of this dedicated webpage with frequently asked questions as they are received. 

 

Consultation List

The list below identifies the extent of the consultation, and therefore those who are invited to respond.

  • Students currently on roll at Leeds West Academy
  • Parents and carers of students on roll at Leeds West Academy
  • Staff at Leeds West Academy
  • Leeds City Council
  • Headteachers/Principals and Chairs of Governors of other secondary schools, academies and special schools in the Leeds area and in neighbouring local authorities.
  • Local Councillors
  • Member of Parliament – Rachel Reeves MP
  • The Chief Executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
  • Other community members who may be affected by the proposal

 

Consultation methods

  • Electronic survey for parents and students
  • Consultation form
  • A series of two public meetings.

 

Timeline for proposed closure of Leeds West Academy Sixth Form

Action

Proposed Timeline

Consultation period commences*

Tuesday 27th March 2018

Public Meeting 1

Tuesday 17th April 2018, 6-7pm

Public Meeting 2

Thursday 19th April 2018, 6-7pm

Consultation period closes (12pm)

Tuesday 1st May 2018

Application for closure/Consultation findings to the Education Funding Agency and the Regional Schools Commissioner

Friday 4th May 2018

Approval of the Secretary of State

July 2018

Implementation

September 2018 onwards

*Information, advice and guidance will run concurrently to the consultation process to ensure appropriate pathways are secured for all Year 11 students.

 

 

 

  

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What does this mean for a Year 13 student?

We have gone to great lengths to ensure every Year 13 student currently on roll, receives an outstanding education throughout their remaining time at Leeds West Academy.   As a student in Year 13, your child has just a few months remaining before their final examinations.  None of the proposed changes to our Sixth Form provision will affect Year 13.  They will be prepared for their final examinations as planned, and we will ensure, under the leadership of Mrs Jennings, that they are well supported during these final, crucial months.  

What does this mean for a Year 12 student? Will a student in Year 12 be able to complete their Sixth Form Studies at Leeds West Academy? 

We have gone to great lengths to ensure every Year 12 student currently on roll, receives an outstanding education throughout their remaining year at Leeds West Academy.  Students who are currently studying in Year 12 at Leeds West Academy will continue their studies at Leeds West Academy.   The main difference for these students is that there are likely to be very few students joining the Sixth Form in Year 12 from September.  The Sixth Form will therefore, be very small.   

If the numbers in the Sixth Form are very small, will you still ensure my child receive an outstanding education for their final year? 

The work we are doing to secure outstanding teaching across our academy will continue, including those lessons taught in our Sixth Form.  We are still accountable for the results of our Sixth Form students.   

We will retain our existing pastoral and academic support structure for our remaining Sixth Form students.  With a smaller number of Sixth Form students, this means that the pastoral support and academic mentoring we can provide is even more personalised, meaning every remaining student will receive an incredible amount of dedicated support for their final year.  This will include exclusive one-to-one mentoring in securing excellent destinations at the end of their sixth form studies, whether this is University, College, Apprenticeship or the world of work.  

I have heard that the specialist facilities for Sixth Formers have reduced this year.  Will this continue next year?

Due to the demand for places in Year 7, over recent years we have had to make dedicated Sixth Form spaces more communal, ensuring all our students have a place to sit and eat during social times.  This year, we have provided dedicated study rooms across the timetable, so that our Sixth Form students have areas where they can work quietly.  Sixth Form students also have access to our dining/cafe areas at all times, in addition to breaks and lunchtimes. 

To further support our Year 12 students in their final year of study with us, and in their ongoing study through University, further education, employment or training, we have committed to provide an iPad for every existing Year 12 student.  This will be provided in September 2018 when they return for their final year of study, and will be theirs to keep to support them in their ongoing destinations.  

Will a Year 11 student be able to join the Sixth Form in September 2018? 

Yes, students who have applied to Leeds West Academy will be able to join the Sixth Form in September, but we anticipate the vast majority of these students will choose to apply to other Sixth Form providers.  Many of our Year 11 students have already applied to other, specialist Sixth Form providers in the Leeds area, such as Elliot Hudson College, Leeds City College, Notre Dame College or Horsforth School Sixth Form.  There are, however, a number of students who have only applied to Leeds West Academy.  Due to the small application numbers, we are only able to offer a narrow range of courses, which means that we cannot meet the demands and interests of the majority of those students. 

What other options are there for a current Year 11 student for September 2018? 

We have secured strong partnership with three outstanding providers in the Leeds area:

  • Elliot Hudson College:  A specialist 16-19 college based next to the White Rose Centre in Leeds, offering an incredible range of Academic (A-Level) Qualifications.  Elliot Hudson College is part of The Gorse Academies Trust. 
  • Leeds City College:  A specialist Further Education provider, offering an immense range of academic and vocational programmes for students aged 14 and above.  Leeds City College is rated Good by Ofsted, with many Outstanding areas. 
  • Horsforth School Sixth Form:  A 16-19 Sixth Form provision at Horsforth School, offering a good range of academic (A-Level) qualifications.  The Sixth Form at Horsforth is currently rated as Outstanding by Ofsted. 

We are confident that, between the providers outlined above, your child will be able to study their first choice of courses, as long as they meet the entry requirements as published by those providers.  

If the Sixth Form is closing in September 2019, what will happen to students who begin their Sixth Form studies at Leeds West Academy in September 2018?

We will be supporting all of our students to secure an offer from an alternative provider from September 2018, to ensure all of our students can complete their studies without the need to transfer at the end of Year 1.  There may be a small number of students who choose to remain with us for one year; we will support these students in transferring to an alternative provider at the end of the first year of their A-level study.  To support this, we have secured dedicated links with the providers outlined above and, where appropriate, can offer a free travel pass for the second year of study.  

Some of my child’s chosen courses are not running at Leeds West Academy from September 2018.  What will you do to support?

We will not be able to offer the exact choices of courses to the majority of our Sixth Form applicants for 2018 entry.  We have secured strong partnerships with a range of outstanding providers in the Leeds area (Elliot Hudson College, Leeds City College and Horsforth School).  All have agreed to work in partnership to secure a next step for every Year 11 student at Leeds West.  We are confident, that every student will be able to secure their first choices, through at least one of these providers.  

How do we apply for a place with an alternative Sixth Form provider? 

Every student who has not currently applied to another provider will be guided and supported to apply to an alternative provider of their choice.  We have secured a dedicated careers adviser to work with every student, guiding them personally through their options, supporting them with their applications and supporting them through any interview process.   

Our partners have offered a full transition package, including day-visits, to allow our students to experience their specialist facilities, programmes of study and student support systems.   

What if my child does not achieve the grades to achieve a place at college to study A-Level? 

There are some students who have applied to study A-levels/Level 3 courses at Leeds West Academy, whose predicted grades fall short of the essential entry criteria.  We are investing in dedicated careers advisers who will ensure that every student in this situation, secures a reserve offer of a course that still allows them to follow their chosen career pathway.  Every student who has applied to Leeds West Academy Sixth Form will receive a 1:1 appointment with a careers adviser, who will explore the options available.  Your child will be supported to apply for a place on the chosen courses, supported through the interview process from start to finish. 

My child wanted to progress into the Leeds West Academy Sixth Form because it is close to where we live.  How will you support my child in traveling to another Sixth Form College?

We recognise that the location of Leeds West Academy is an important reason for choosing us as a sixth form provider.  We do believe the specialist facilities on offer at other colleges will provide a far more enjoyable learning experience for our students, as well as providing a closer match to their chosen courses.  The additional cost of travel is often a barrier to our students.  We are therefore, ensuring that travel expenses will be supported, either through the provision of a private bus service, or through the provision of a free travel pass for every student who has applied to Leeds West, covering the cost of travel for the first year of study. 

Will students in Year 10 and below be able to join the Leeds West Academy Sixth Form?

Leeds West Academy will not admit any students into its Sixth Form in September 2019.  The closure of the sixth form, however, allows us to focus our efforts on the delivery of an outstanding education for students in Years 7 to 11.  As your child enters their final GCSE year, this will be crucial in securing strong examination results to ensure they can move on to their chosen courses in September 2019. 

How will the closure of the Sixth Form benefit my child in Years 7-11?

The maintenance of our Sixth Form is subsidised heavily by the funding received for students in Years 7-11.  The savings made by the closure of the Sixth Form will enable us to channel this money more efficiently, into our 11-16 classrooms.  For your child, this will mean: 

  • Smaller class sizes:  Teachers who previously taught sixth form lessons will be redeployed to teach in Years 7 to 11, meaning more teachers are available to deliver Year 7-11 lessons.  This means class sizes will reduce and your child will receive an even more personalised learning experience. 
  • Enhanced pastoral care:  We plan to invest in the expansion of our pastoral team, to ensure every child benefits from outstanding care.  This will include an expansion of our Nurture Group provision, more pastoral and wellbeing staff who will be more readily available to support our students and respond to parental concerns as they arise. 
  • Improved learning resources:  The savings made by closing the Sixth Form means more funding can be channelled into Years 7-11.  This will include investment in innovative learning resources for all Year groups, as well as refreshed and expanded classroom resources such as text books, personalised exercise books and improved equipment for our specialist subjects. 
  • Enhanced educational experience; an overseas visit for every student:  We have ambitious plans to enhance the educational experience for our students, broadening their horizons and raising their aspirations.  We plan to provide every student with the opportunity to experience an overseas education visit during their 5 years at Leeds West Academy.  The closure of the sixth form will enable us to allocate funding to subsidise these trips, ensuring every student can benefit, regardless of family financial circumstances. 

Is the decision to close the Sixth Form driven by the current financial constraints common to all academies?

There are increasing pressures on school/academy finances, but this is not the reason for this decision.  Due to insufficient numbers on roll in the Sixth Form, this provision is heavily subsidised by the funding received for 11-16 year olds.  This is not sustainable whilst investing in the improvement of our 11-16 provision.