Don’t fear over A-lev­els, says academy boss

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

SCHOOLS will be fight­ing over A-level stu­dents when Mac­cles­field Col­lege end the cour­ses, a head­teacher has claimed.

The an­nounce­ment that the Park Lane col­lege would stop teach­ing A-lev­els at the end of the school year met with crit­i­cism from par­ents and stu­dents who feared there wouldn’t be enough room at the town’s other sixth forms. But Richard Hedge, head­teacher at Mac­cles­field Academy, says the govern­ment squeeze on post-16 education bud­gets means schools and col­leges are keen to re­cruit new stu­dents, com­par­ing it to a ‘foot­ball trans­fer win­dow’ with ‘play­ers ev­ery­one wants to sign’.

He said: “Post-16 pro­vi­sion has be­come so con­strained there is real chal­lenge for any­one run­ning A-lev­els.

“The pat­tern of A-level pro­vi­sion will con­tinue to evolve as na­tional changes to qual­i­fi­ca­tions and fund­ing take ef­fect.

“By 2021 when stu­dents from next year’s Year Seven are pro­gress­ing to A-lev­els, the lo­cal pic­ture may well have changed again.

“There is a much greater need for providers to work in part­ner­ship.”

He added: “We sent a let­ter to our stu­dents af­ter the col­lege’s de­ci­sion to stop A-lev­els and I’ve used the anal­ogy of it be­ing like the foot­ball trans­fer win­dow and they are like the play­ers ev­ery­one wants to sign.

“All the schools are des­per­ate to re­cruit as many stu­dents as they can.”

Mr Hedge said last Septem­ber 56 per cent of Mac­cles­field Academy stu­dents who pro­gressed to A-lev­els went to Mac­cles­field Col­lege and 44pc to the town’s other sixth forms – Tyther­ing­ton High School, Fal­li­b­roome Academy and All Hal­lows Catholic Col­lege.

Head­teach­ers have also as­sured par­ents there will be enough space for stu­dents and have al­ready been in talks with Mac­cles­field Academy about tak­ing pupils.

Tony Billings, All Hal­lows head­teacher, said: “Post-16 education is a chang­ing land­scape.

“We have an open sixth form and will be de­lighted to in­ter­view young­sters from the academy. Par­ents don’t need to worry.”

Fran­cis Power, head of school at Fal­li­b­roome, said: “In the cur­rent cli­mate we un­der­stand why the col­lege’s man­age­ment team reached this de­ci­sion.

“We are happy to re­ceive ap­pli­ca­tions from stu­dents who hoped to do A-lev­els at the col­lege.”

Fal­li­b­roome’s A-Level open evening is to­day (Wed­nes­day), from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

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