A RECENTLY established sixth form partnership is under threat of closure.
Flint High School and St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School opened a new sixth form facility with great fanfare in September, named ‘6’.
Governers and teachers hoped the new facility, providing students with more than 30 A Level and BTEC subjects to choose from, would ensure their sixth form would be kept safe from a Flintshire Council review of provisions in the county.
But both schools have now received a draft proposal from Flintshire Council outlining an option that would lead to its potential closure.
Flint Castle councillor Ian Roberts said: “Both schools have a strong tradition of pastoral care and support, which they will continue to deliver to their learners who have grown up and thrived in their respective schools.
“I hope the county council and its officers will give this collaboration the opportunity to flourish.
“Young people in Flint and those who are committed to a faith-based education across Flintshire deserve the right to choose where they study in the sixth form.
“It’s a unique provision and parents need to convey a strong message to all concerned.”
The proposal forms part of Flintshire Council’s ‘21st Century Schools’ programme, which recently proposed to change provisions at Holywell High School, Connah’s Quay High School, John Summers High School in Queensferry and Elfed High School in Buckley.
In the proposed changes – likely to be called-in and scrutinised by the Welsh Government after a score of objections, the sixth forms at all four schools would be closed and a central sixth form hub would be created on Golftyn Lane, Connah’s Quay.
Students at Elfed High would be encouraged to attend the sixth form at the Alun School, Mold.
Flint High and St Richard Gwyn School are both holding consultations to garner support from the community to keep their sixth forms.
Cllr Roberts said: “This unique blend of partnership working offers a viable and sustainable alternative to the college-based Hub which will be built at Connah’s Quay.
“I urge parents of both schools to attend the consultation meetings to present a united voice in support of this sixth form.”
When plans were originally announced for the radical shake up, several community leaders in Flint, including Cllr Roberts, said combining the two sixth forms should be enough to save them.
Meetings will be held at St Richard Gwyn today at 6pm and at Flint High School on Monday, December 16, at 6pm.
Andrea Roberts, chair of Governors at Flint High School, said: “We want to highlight the success of the strong partnership between the sixth forms of the two schools.
“Numbers of sixth formers in both schools have increased this year and indicators are that this trend will continue.
“Staff too are benefiting from working closely together and the governing bodies in both schools agree that this is the way forward.”
Tom Davies, head of development and resources at Flintshire Council, said: “In accordance with the decision of councillors, a series of consultations was held in the communities of Holywell, Connah's Quay, Queensferry and Buckley in relation to sixth form education and training from 2016 onward.
“The consultations scheduled in Flint will present options for consideration for the future provision of post-16 education.
“The consultation is open until the end of January 2014, and details of the options and how to respond will be available at the high schools and on the council's website (www.flintshire.gov.uk/AreaSchoolsReview).
“Councillors will then consider the responses and decide on progress.”