Ratton and Cavendish sixth form consultation ends this week

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The public consultation on plans for a sixth form opening at Ratton and Cavendish in September 2015 ends on Friday (January 31).

Governors from both schools will then vote on Tuesday evening whether - based on the results of the consultation - they move to the next level and produce a detailed business plan.

Two weeks ago the Herald reported that Cavendish has been gauging reaction to the idea, and Ratton Academy in Park Lane has also been asking its stakeholders what they want.

There are surveys available for parent and students to fill in as well as staff, and it would appear that for Ratton alone there has already been well over 400 responses.

Acting Head Anne Wardle said, “We have to get it right. Never has education been more competitive in Eastbourne, and the priority has to be what is the best for our young people.

“We have said from the outset that if we do have a joint sixth form from September 2015 then it must only have a positive impact on the current education provided at Ratton for pupils aged 11-16.

“It would be very easy to take our eye off the ball of what we are currently doing so as this is obviously such a huge project, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are doing everything we have always done - and now with the sixth form plans we are doing more.”

The consultation is asking whether there is support for a joint Ratton/Cavendish sixth form. If there is, it is likely a full bid would be put to the Education Funding Agency.

A decision would probably be made by the summer so that the two schools would then have 12 months to attract enough post-16 students – and indeed staff – to the new provision.

It also comes at a time when the new free school Gildredge House is consulting on its opening its own sixth form at the same, summer 2015.

Anne added, “The consultation process has been very extensive and we have tried to engage with as many people in the community and from within Ratton itself so that we know genuinely what people want.

“There are a lot of issues still to be ironed out in terms of such areas as space and location, but at the moment we are concentrating on the principle, and what is best for Eastbourne and the young people of the town.”

You have until noon on Friday (January 31) to visit either school’s website for an opportunity to take part in the consultation.