Fylde’s biggest school is looking to drop sixth form education in a bid to save money.
Governors of Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College have launched a consultation over changing the age range of the school from 11-18 to 11-16 with effect from September 2018.
If the move goes ahead, it would mean there would be no recruitment to academic courses taught by the school’s staff from September next year because students starting A-level courses then would not be able to complete their two-year courses before the potential implementation of the plan.
The governors claim the move will make a significant contribution to the financial recovery of the school – which has more than 1,400 students and is still popularly known by its old name of Lytham St Annes High School – and its long term financial stability as well as protecting the quality and breadth of education for children up to GCSE level.
But the proposal has promoted the rapid intervention of Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who is concerned that if it goes ahead it will mean there no state academic A-level provision in Lytham St Annes - and he is meeting Technology and Performing Arts College headteacher Philip Wood tomorrow for urgent talks over the issue,
The proposal comes just over a year after the school’s sixth form provision was switched from the Technology and Performing Arts College building itself in Ansdell to the new Lytham Sixth Form College next door.
The Sixth Form College was launched as a joint venture between the school and Blackpool and The Fylde College in September 2015, at the same time as staying in some form of education or training until the age of 18 became compulsory in England and Wales.
Mr Wood said: “The decision to consult with parents and the wider community about the future of post-16 education at the school has not been taken lightly and has only come about as a result of the very challenging financial position the school faces in the next two years, unless significant cost cutting measures are urgently taken.
“There has been no per capita increase in funding at this school since 2009.
“Since then we have faced large increases in the cost of running the school caused by increases in national insurance and pension contributions which are unfunded by central government.
“The proposal to change the age range of the school will not only make a significant contribution to cutting costs but will also help protect the quality and breadth of provision for 11-16 students by ultimately ensuring that funding received for their education does not have to be spent supporting education for post-16 students.”
Mr Menzies said: “I find it astonishing an area the size of Lytham and St Annes could be left with no state A Level provision. It is a worry for constituents.
“It is up to Lancashire County Council to allocate funding to the school and it is disappointing the school appears to be underfunded in comparison to others in Lancashire.”
Mandy Pritchard, head of Lytham Sixth Form College, said: “Students enrolled on our technical and professional courses will continue to receive their high-quality education while I am assured those studying A-levels through the high school will continue to be fully supported throughout their education.”
A meeting to consider the proposals will be held in the school hall from 4.30 to 5.30pm on Tuesday. The consultation will run until January 20 details at www.lythamhigh.lancs.sch.uk