Will new cash hit the spot?

23rd February 2001 at 00:00
The announcement of a new sixth-form college in the ethnically-diverse borough of Lambeth appears to have taken local councillors by surprise.

Ty Goddard, executive councillor for learning and support in the inner-London borough, said: "I am surprised and pleased that the Government is prepared to commit extra resources for post-16 provision in our borough.

"There are already pockets of excellence in post-16 provision in Lambeth. But taken as a borough, it may not meet the wider needs of our whole area.

"I have stressed to the Government that we need to find a Lambeth-wide solution that takes account of a range of views. The Government is awaiting consultation which will provide us with the opportunity to benefit from this potentially large investment."

Lambeth has four secondaries with sixth forms. It says it is to early to predict the effects of the new centres. The future of the sixth forms is likely to rest with the LSC.

The council currently has no details of where the college will be located or what curriculum provision it will offer. What is clear, however, is that few Lambeth children - 14 per cent - end up pursuing post-16 education within the borough. Figures for secondary pupils in 1999 show that 340, or 28 per cent, of them in Lambeth continued in full-time post-16 education locally.

In the same year, 40 per cent of pupils left Lambeth schools between Years six and seven. Of 2,393 primary pupils, only 1,437 went on to Lambeth secondaries.

Earlier last year, the council commissioned the master of St John's College, Cambridge, to lead an independent inquiry into post-16 provision in Lambeth.

Simon Midgley

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