Schools in Eastbourne have joined forces this week to sign an agreement that will see a highly-innovative new Sixth Form rolled out across the town.
The seven secondary schools in Eastbourne and Seaford have formally committed to a partnership with Hailsham Community College and together, they plan to develop a high-quality, school-based Post-16 provision throughout the area.
The centres in question – Bishop Bell, Causeway, Cavendish, The Eastbourne Academy, Hailsham, Ratton, Seaford Head and Willingdon schools – have always worked closely with each other but now plan to pool their resources to enable them to offer further education in every centre.
The planned service, described as ‘exciting’ and ‘ground-breaking’ by the headteachers, will be provided by experts drawn in from all the schools and will now allow students to learn within an environment they know and trust through years of previous study, rather than moving to a new and unfamiliar establishment.
A spokesperson for the schools said, “We believe that together we can provide high-quality post-16 education for all students in the area, which will enhance and enrich existing provision and serve the real needs of our children in a rapidly changing world.”
All schools within the newly-founded partnership were judged as ‘good’ with aspects of ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted reports earlier in the academic year – an achievement that was reflected in results as standards of attainment continued to rise at a faster rate in this area than anywhere else in the entire country.
The Post-16 provision will cater for students wishing to study for Advanced Level qualifications (A-Levels) or vocational courses, providing they meet the relevant admission criteria.
As part of the plan, the schools are also committed to discussion with Sussex Downs College in order to develop as a high a standard of provision as possible.
Focus has increased on further education after a new law was passed under the Education and Skill Act in 2008 that made it compulsory for teenagers to stay in further education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turned 17 – an age that will rise to 18 by 2015.
The Eastbourne Area Seconds Heads hope the pan-Eastbourne provision will provide post-16 options that are coherent, broad, balanced and unrivalled nationally.