THE closure of a school’s sixth form will be “sad to see”, according to one of its governors.
Cllr Dennis Hutchinson, a governor at Elfed High School in Buckley, was speaking after a controversial proposal to alter the age range at one of at the school was approved by Welsh Government education bosses.
The switch from the current 11-18 age range to 11-16 was referred to education minister Huw Lewis after 27 objections were lodged.
He has decided to approve the proposal after falling pupil numbers meant the sixth form was no longer viable.
Speaking yesterday, Cllr Hutchinson said: “Unfortunately, we are in a situation where the falling numbers mean sufficient funding cannot be maintained.
“The criteria set out initially by the Welsh Government was that post-16 education at the school should cater for 150 pupils, although this has now been raised to 200.
“There was an awful lot of lobbying to try to save it by councillors, the school, governors and children themselves.
“It is sad to see this happen because the sixth form has a very good record and pupils have gained access to some of the best universities in the country.”
The news comes weeks after the school held events to mark its 60th anniversary.
Students will now access sixth form provision at Mold’s Alun School.
The current year 12 will be the school’s last sixth form and will complete their studies in June 2015.
The drop in post-16 pupils numbers at Elfed meant taking funds from other areas of the school to try to retain the sixth form.
The sixth form roll currently stands at less than 90.
Proposed mergers with Argoed School and Westwood Primary School have failed to bear fruit.
The school enjoyed an A-level pass rate of 100 per cent in 2013.
Ian Budd, director of lifelong learning for Flintshire Council said: “The minister has now confirmed the change in age range from 11-18 to 11-16 at Elfed High School in Buckley and transferral of post-16 provision to Mold Alun High School with effect from September 1, 2014.
“He has confirmed that in his view the change will consolidate sustainable post-16 provision and that the local authority has met the statutory requirements in respect of consultation on the proposal.
“I would like to thank the staff and governors of both schools who work to secure very high outcomes for learners and to promote their wellbeing.
“They are working to ensure a successful transition for students and their wider school communities.”
Headteacher Rosemary Jones said: “We are working with Mold Alun to support transition and our careers fair was an opportunity to meet local employers and staff from schools and colleges.
“Resources currently used by the Sixth Form will become available for students 11 to 16 years.
“The council has proposed that any surplus classrooms will be used as offices by county employees who currently work in education or leisure services and have been adequately assessed.”