Sixth form to ‘transform’ education in north of Leeds

Sixth form students.
Sixth form students.
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Major plans to relaunch a sixth form at the site of a Leeds secondary will “transform” post-16 education for young people in the north east of the city, headteachers have said.

Boston Spa Academy, which earlier this year faced potential merger with nearby Wetherby High, confirmed last month it is instead to join The GORSE Academies Trust (TGAT) after its bid was approved by School’s Minister Lord Agnew. The announcement was widely welcomed by campaigning parents, governors and politicians and now, in a move to further strengthen its position, it reveals major investment plans.

Sixth form students

Sixth form students

From September 2019, it is to launch a northern site for the Elliott Hudson College, which already has a base in the south of the city and is rated fourth highest in England, Outstanding in all areas.

Such a move, said principal Christopher Walsh, could see the Boston Spa site treble its sixth form intake from 200 up to about 600 in the next few years and expand access to high-quality education.

“It’s a game-changer for post-16 education in the north of the city,” he said. “It will allow a whole new range of students access to the type of provision that is already available at Elliott Hudson. This is about bringing an opportunity, available to children in the south of the city, to the north of the city as well.”

Bringing the Elliott Hudson College to Boston Spa Academy, the trust says, will form a “formidable” partnership.

Chief executive of TGAT Sir John Townsley, The Boston Spa Academy Director of Sixth Form Michael Brennan, and Principal of Boston Spa Academy Christopher Walsh.

Chief executive of TGAT Sir John Townsley, The Boston Spa Academy Director of Sixth Form Michael Brennan, and Principal of Boston Spa Academy Christopher Walsh.

The first phase of the plan would see a £350,000 investment from TGAT to upgrade existing facilities in autumn, with more investment next year.

Sir John Townsley, chief executive of TGAT, said: “This is a really significant opportunity for young people. Boston Spa Academy is already the highest achieving sixth form in the area, with value added that exceeds that of the private sector; it is incredibly exciting that two highly successful organisations, sharing many of the same core values, come together to break new ground.”

Stephen Hall, chair of Governors at the academy, added: “Governors are thrilled that the commitment shown to Boston Spa by our community has been so swiftly rewarded with such an important and significant development.”