For some years I have worked in a school that serves the local community well, particularly at the post-16 level. Since responsibility for this sector has passed to the Learning and Skills Council, plans have emerged to close down our sixth-form and others in the area and move provision to a college 30 miles away. Students would have to travel, and this would dissuade some from carrying on after their GCSEs. The move seems to be for financial reasons only and, after working hard to produce a fulfilling route from school to sixth-form, is a kick in the teeth for the staff.
FE has always catered for 16 to 18-year-olds, though it was once a place for swift retakes, not an alternative to school. Once upon a time, school was the natural choice for post-16, but colleges can now compete with them - in some cases they offer alternatives that schools cannot provide. I didn't envisage that this provision would be taken away from schools. Is it fair for local communities? I hope the new college is at least offering a free bus service.
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