EDUCATION chiefs have welcomed a town school’s plans to open a sixth form college.
Fellow post-16 education providers in Hartlepool have wished Dyke House Sports & Technology College well as it gets set to offer its own sixth form provision from September.
Michael Lee, headteacher of English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, said: “Having a sixth form college gives a school a unique dimension.
“Students are already very well-served by post-16 institutions in Hartlepool and any enhancement to that is to be welcomed.”
Hartlepool College of Further Education principal and chief executive Darren Hankey said: “Hartlepool is blessed to have many high-quality providers of post-16 education with us, the Sixth Form College, English Martyrs, and the local authority being the main players.
“Over the last few years, both Labour and the coalition governments have pursued a neo-liberal approach to public services whereby new providers are encouraged.
“The aim of this approach is to drive up standards and, ironically, research suggests this approach has had little impact on raising standards as well as being highly expensive.
“Dyke House is now an academy and this status brings with it freedom from local authority control.
“The achievements at the school in terms of its GCSE results are outstanding and I wish Andrew Jordon and his team well for the future.”
Hartlepool Sixth Form College acting principal Carole Horseman said: “Hartlepool Sixth Form College was created 30 years ago by combining all of the small sixth forms in the town into one specialist establishment.
“This decision was taken to ensure that the town’s students could benefit from being taught by staff who were able to focus on post-16 education and provide a more mature, but supportive environment to better prepare them for the next step in their careers.
“Dyke House is a successful school which makes moving on to a college with a long tradition of high academic achievement, such as Hartlepool Sixth Form College, a very attractive option for many of their pupils.
“In January, we enjoyed providing a taster day for their current Year 11 pupils so that they can make an informed decision as to whether they wish to progress on to a sixth form college or remain at school.
“Such events are designed to ensure that pupils take decisions for sound educational reasons, and Hartlepool Sixth Form College will continue to work with the headteacher to ensure all post-16 options remain represented in the school.
“I wish the staff and pupils well in their new venture.”