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In one of the largest consultation exercises ever to be held in Gloucestershire, parents, pupils, school staff and governors will be asked for their views on how secondary education in Gloucester and sixth forms throughout the county could be improved.
On Wednesday 1st October, Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet will decide on a range of ideas that could lead to significant changes to the county’s sixth forms and secondary schools in Gloucester City. And over the next few months, everyone interested in the future of secondary education will be given the opportunity to comment on the options that are being considered.
The County Council’s long-term goal is to make sure that every young person has access to the best possible learning opportunities, teaching and resources. The County Council’s consultation with local people will look at what needs to change to make this happen and enable all pupils to be successful.
Over the last few months, the County Council has been working closely with schools to scrutinise the current role of the county’s 28 sixth forms and the quality of education provided by Gloucester City’s 13 secondary schools. This work has led to the development of a range of options that will be debated by Cabinet next Wednesday.
County Council leader Peter Clarke says: “Our current system is not allowing all schools and all pupils to succeed. For many years, the overall academic achievements of Gloucestershire’s pupils have been amongst the best in the country, but there is evidence that a proportion of our young people do not achieve their full potential.
“Together with our key partners, we have already identified that the current provision does not completely fit our pupils’ needs. There are currently wide variations in the attainment of pupils of similar abilities. Some pupils also have better access to courses than others and we must plan for the future to make sure we provide the right number of places for pupils in the right locations.
County Councillor Charmian Sheppard is the Cabinet Member responsible for the county’s secondary schools. She says: “I will be asking Cabinet to grasp this opportunity and enable local people to be fully involved in debating and discussing a range of practical and sensible suggestions.
“I have been greatly impressed with the cooperation we have already had from our schools and the Learning & Skills Council in looking at the current situation. Although potential change can be very challenging I hope that the strength of our partnership and the benefits of our long term strategy will be constructively debated by everyone interested in the future of our young people.
“Once Cabinet has confirmed the options to be consulted on, the council will publish details of how local people can become involved in the process. Information leaflets, briefing sessions and workshops will all be used from mid-October to gather views and opinions.
Notes To Editors
A review of Gloucestershire’s 28 sixth forms was approved by the Council’s Cabinet on 4th December 2002.The Council is working with the Learning & Skills Council to carry out the initiative.
The review of Gloucester City’s 13 schools was given the go-ahead on 5th March 2003. On 1st October, Cabinet will be asked to agree a rolling programme of area reviews for all other secondary and primary schools in Gloucestershire.
Gloucester City’s schools provide a mix of secondary education for approximately 12,000 children. Schools teach between the ages of 11-16 or 11-18 and include comprehensive, selective, mixed and single-sex, denominational and specialist schools.
Within Gloucester City, selective schools provide approximately twenty-two percent of pupil places (compared to 12.5% in Cheltenham).
Gloucester has the highest concentration of ethnic minority pupils in the County and continues to be the focus for most housing developments in the county.
The County Council is already in the process of consulting with pupils, parents, teachers and governors on developing special educational needs for pupils aged 3 to 19 in the Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds areas.
Key Facts Gloucester City Secondary Schools
Every day, up to 600 secondary school pupils travel out and 1,600 come into Gloucester City to go to school. The movement of more able pupils in and out of the city, leads to concentrations of high and low ability pupils in a relatively small number of schools.
The overall breadth of curriculum in Gloucester is wide but schools could collaborate further to deliver effective access to courses
The number of pupils for Gloucester City schools is predicted to decline by over 600 over the next 7 years. Housing developments may counteract this decline but are likely to lead to a shift in which schools will need to expand and which should contract.
There are currently wide variations in the performance of schools and the attainment of pupils of similar ability
Schools included in the review are:
Gloucestershire’s Sixth Forms
There are 10 sixth forms in Gloucester City and 18 in the remaining areas of the county. Pupils living in the central Forest and Cirencester areas have an 11-16 secondary system and access to tertiary colleges (mixture of sixth form & further education college offering a mixture of academic and vocational courses).
The number of subjects offered at Advanced level ranges from over 30 in the county’s largest sixth forms to 11 in the smallest
Average teaching group sizes vary from around 3 in the smallest sixth form to over 15
There are variations in quality of information, advice and guidance on post-16 learning opportunities
Secondary Schools (with sixth forms) included in the review are:
Able to comment on both the secondary and sixth form reviews:
County Councillor Charmian Sheppard, Portfolio Holder, Education for Children and Young People, (01452) 426861/(01242) 511971
County Councillor Peter Clarke, Leader, 01452 426866
Jo Davidson, Executive Director, Education, (01452) 425302
Keith Maclennan, Head of Service, Education Planning & Lifelong Learning (01452) 425310
Ed Wickens, Chair of the Gloucestershire Secondary Heads Association and Head Teacher at Brockworth School, (01452) 863372
Able to comment on the secondary review:
Simon Packer, Head Teacher, Churchdown School, Gloucester, (01452) 713340
Peter Rowland, Head Teacher, Severn Vale School, Gloucester, (01452) 720458
Issued by Sam Roffe, Gloucestershire County Council media team, (01452) 425226
These are the options for city secondary schooling to go to public consultation over the coming months. There will be 18 meetings in total.
Cluster One: Barnwood Park, Central Technology College, Ribston Hall and The Crypt. Currently provide 2,700 places.
Option 1: (A) Create a new mixed 600 place grammar school and sixth form from the closure of Crypt and Ribston. Removes 600 selective places.
Option 1: (B) And/or create a new mixed 900 place 11-16 comprehensive from closure of Barnwood Park and Central. Removes 600 comprehensive places.
Option 2: Create a new boys 750 place 11-16 comprehensive from the closure of Crypt and Central. Retain Barnwood Park as matching girls 750 place 11-16 comprehensive. Change Ribston to a mixed 600-place grammar school. Removes 600 selective places.
Option 3: Create two new mixed 750 place 11-16 comprehensives from closure of Crypt, Ribston, Barnwood Park and Central. Removes 1,200 places.
Cluster Two: Brockworth, Chosen Hill and Churchdown. Currently provide 3,300 places.
Option 1: Reduce Churchdown, Chosen Hill and Brockworth each by 30 places per year. Removes 450 comprehensive places.
Option 2: Close Brockworth sixth form and establish sixth form provision between Churchdown and Chosen Hill.
Option 3: Establish collaborative sixth form provision between Brockworth, Churchdown and Chosen Hill.
Cluster Three: High School for Girls, Oxstalls and Sir Thomas Rich’s. Currently provide 2,100 places.
Option 1: Close Oxstalls and re-open as a new school with a different status.
Option 2: Close Oxstalls and transfer Churchdown to the Oxstalls site at its current capacity. Removes 900 comprehensive places.
Option 3: Create a new mixed 900-place comprehensive and sixth form and a new mixed 600-place grammar and sixth from closing Oxstalls, High School for Girls and Sir Thomas Rich’s. Removes 600 selective places. Option 4: Create a new mixed 600 place grammar school and sixth form by the closure of the High School for Girls and Sir Thomas Rich’s. Removes 600 selective places.
Cluster Four: Beaufort Community School, St Peters Catholic High School and Severn Vale. Currently provide 3,450 places.
Option 1: Close Beaufort sixth form and further develop sixth form provision for south of the city, including St Peters.
Option 2: Reduce the intake of St Peters by 30 places per year. Removes 150 comprehensive aided places.
Review of Gloucester Secondary Schools Consultation Meetings :
18th November, 2003
5.30pm and 7.30pm : Ribston Hall High School
7.30pm : Quedgeley Community Centre School Lane, Quedgeley & British Energy Conference Centre, Barnett Way, Barnwood.
20th November, 2003
5.30pm & 7.30pm : Barnwood Park High School
7.00pm : Sir Thomas Rich’s School & Beaufort Community School
24th November, 2003
5.30pm and 7.30pm : The Crypt School
7.00pm : Churchdown
27th November, 2003
7.00pm : Central Technology College & Chosen Hill School
7.30pm : St Peter’s Catholic High School
1st December, 2003
5.30pm and 7.30pm : High School for Girls
7.30pm : Brockworth Enterprise School & Severn Vale School
2nd December, 2003
7.00pm : Oxstalls Community School
7.30pm : Woodlawns Country Club, Green Street, Brockworth.
4th December, 2003
7.30pm : Colwell Youth & Community Centre, Block A, Derby Road, Gloucester & British Energy Conference Centre, Barnett Way, Barnwood.