Strong support for Flint Sixth Form schools partnership

Published date: 14 March 2014 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


NEARLY 1,000 responses have been made strongly supporting the future of a threatened Sixth Form partnership.

A consultation on the future of the partnership between Flint High School and St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint, has seen 976 responses “strongly” agreeing with the option of keeping it going.

In total, there were 1,553 responses on the future of Sixth Form provision in the town, which will be discussed at a meeting of Flintshire Council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

A protest is planned outside the meeting as part of a campaign to save the partnership.

A report to the meeting says there is evidence of multiple forms completion.

In the consultation, the other option given to Flint High School was for post-16 provision to be provided from a new Sixth Form hub in Golftyn Lane, Connah’s Quay.

Just 13 people “strongly agree” with that plan with 591 saying they “strongly disagree”.

Consultation papers for provision at St Richard Gwyn had four choices – retaining the Sixth Form, keeping the Sixth Form with links to the Sixth Form hub, providing Sixth Form provision at the hub, or keeping the Sixth Form partnership.

In total, 385 respondents “strongly agree” with keeping the partnership, while 79 wanted to keep the sixth form retained. Forty-one people wanted it with links to the hub and nine strongly agreed with using the hub.

Different options were available for St Richard Gwyn because Flint High was considered a “local community” school whereas St Richard Gwyn is  a Catholic school “which serves the whole county”.

The report says: “In the consultations, the majority of respondents were students at the schools.

“The responses from both school consultations and the dedicated consultation with young people strongly support development of collaborative arrangements of post-16 provision between the schools.

“Correspondents felt that there would be a lack of pastoral care, a need for transport for which some would need to pay, and also that quality of provision was an unknown at the present.”

The report said pastoral care would be strong at the Sixth Form hub because Coleg Cambria, which would be a key provider for the hub, has a well developed pastoral care system which would be extended to the new facility.

It also added the argument made about the schools struggling to hire staff if they lost their sixth forms was unlikely.

According to the report, the two schools are in the process of finalising and submitting their final business case in support of their preferred option for a voluntary collaboration. It has been recommended that councillors wait to receive this before a decision is made.

It said: “The council’s position, communicated to both schools, is that if proven as a workable and sustainable business case,  the collaboration will be supported, otherwise we have no alternative but to pursue another option.”

A campaign involving parents, teachers, students and community leaders has been mobilised in recent months in an attempt to derail the proposal.

The partnership, called ‘6’, was opened to great fanfare last year. Those involved believed it would stave off the threat of closure.

The proposals are part of Flintshire Council ‘21st Century Schools’ programme of changes.

Consultations regarding provisions at Holywell High School, Connah’s Quay High School, John Summers High School in Queensferry and Elfed High School in Buckley have already taken place.

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