Post-16 education sites’ closer links to counteract cuts

Schools and colleges may have to form closer links to ensure funding cuts do not affect the variety of courses on offer for students after 16.

It is feared smaller sixth forms across Lincolnshire could be left floundering by funding cuts which could see £2.8million wiped off education budgets this year and a further £1.2million next year.

Lincolnshire County Council is looking at ways of encouraging schools and colleges to collaborate to make best use of resources to provide the widest variety of courses, particularly those which meet the demands of the local job market.

It comes at a time when school participation age is rising with young people expected to stay in education until at least their 18th birthday.

Lincolnshire currently has a high number of youngsters (18 per cent) abandoning A-level courses after the first year, which the education authority also aims to tackle.

It is a problem recognised by Boston College, which now has a campus offering post-16 education in Spalding.

Principal Amanda Mosek said: “I do share concerns that some young people are not making sensible choices at the age of 16 and I also worry about the quality of some of the careers guidance that some young people are receiving.

“Too many are choosing A-level programmes which they drop out of after a year.

“They would be much better advised to consider taking an apprenticeship or another vocational option which would better prepare them for employment.

“We would be pleased to work more closely with local schools to ensure that we are best meeting the needs of young people.

“We also work really effectively with local employers to ensure that we are training young people to meet their future skills needs.”

Spalding Grammar School, already has close links with Spalding High School to ensure the best possible offer for post 16 students.

Headteacher Nigel Ryan, headteacher: “Post 16 funding is being cut, so every post 16 provider will need to make sure it is delivering an efficient and effective service.

“Spalding Grammar School and Spalding High School have a very long track record of delivering A-levels successfully, to the highest standards.

“The two schools continue to be in regular dialogue, to look to ensure that between us, we deliver the best possible academic opportunities, which meet the needs of students in the South Holland area and beyond.”

Spalding Grammar has a higher than average retention rate for students going on to the second year of their A-level course.

A report about the future of post 16 education went before the county council executive on Tuesday.

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