Approved Knowsley sixth form closure ends A-level provision

Halewood Academy Image copyright Google
Image caption Halewood Academy says its current sixth form is financially unviable

A Merseyside borough will have no A-level provision after the government approved the closure of the area's only sixth form offering the qualification.

The sixth form at Halewood Academy in Knowsley will shut in August 2017 after the Department for Education agreed it could stop providing A-levels.

Principal Gary Evans said it was "sad" but left the academy in a stronger financial position.

Education chiefs pledged to get an another A level plan in place by 2017.

Mr Evans said: "We shall continue to work extensively with other post-16 providers to ensure that all of our students remain in education or training once they leave the academy.

"Discussions are also taking place for a future potential post-16 joint venture across Knowsley," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Parents campaigned against the closure

Knowsley has the lowest proportion of students taking A-levels in England at 2% and has among the lowest university entry rates in England.

A letter to the school from parliamentary undersecretary of state for schools, Lord Nash, outlined the plan.

He said after considering the quality of provision, the impact on existing students and the availability of post-16 education in the area "I have agreed their request to close the sixth form".

Knowsley councillor Gary See said the local authority was "naturally disappointed with this outcome" but pleased there was "some clarity for the Academy and its students".

He said due to the school's academy status, the council had "no powers to intervene" but had committed to working with the government to establish "new sixth form provision from September 2017".

Parents at the school had protested against the closure, arguing it "is letting down the children of this community" and could block their ambitions.

Students who are part-way through their studies will be able to continue at the sixth form.

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