RADICAL calls to close sixth forms in Flintshire have been branded ‘astonishing’.

As the Leader reported last week Flintshire’s New Independents have put forward plans to deal with “unviable” sixth forms.

The plans were suggested as part of ongoing discussions about how to deal with the high levels of surplus places in Flintshire’s secondary schools.

Flint councillor Ian Roberts says he is “absolutely opposed” to plans put forward by the New Independents to close almost half of Flintshire’s sixth forms and has put forward an alternative suggestion for sixth forms in his ward.

Excluding the Catholic and Welsh schools there are nine sixth forms in the county including the Alun School in Mold, Castell Alun in Hope, Hawarden, Elfed in Buckley, Flint, Holywell, John Summers in Queensferry and St Davids in Saltney.

Deputy group leader Cllr Carolyn Cattermoul says there are only three schools in the county – Mold Alun, Castell Alun and Hawarden – that have viable sixth forms.

The group suggests retaining the top three and merging the others to make two sixth forms at either end of the county.

Cllr Roberts said: “Under this proposal it would seem that the vast majority of Flintshire would lose it’s sixth form provision.

“I’m astonished that the New Independants should be suggesting the closure of Flintshire high school sixth forms.”

Cllr Roberts believes there is an alternative for Flint’s two high schools.

“The obvious solution is for Sir Richard Gwyn and Flint High School to collaborate to provide sixth form provision in Flint.

“By a collaboration I mean students walk between the two schools so Richard Gwyn school with some subjects there and some at Flint High School. We’re not talking here about the need for transport. It would provide a sixth form of over 200 pupils which would be extremely viable.”

Cllr Cattermoul welcomed Cllr Robert’s suggestions.

“I’m all for opening up the discussions,” she said.

On Tuesday, Flintshire Council’s executive committee voted in favour of pushing ahead with the consultation period on its multi-million pound school modernisation programme.

Potential options in this consultation include merging Argoed High School, Mynydd Isa, with Elfed High School, Buckley, and John Summers High School with Connah’s Quay High School, while creating a ‘super school’ in Holywell.

Cllr Nigel Steele-Mortimer, executive member for lifelong learning, said: “Flint schools are not part of this consultation, but they will be considered in the future.”