THE Winsford Academy is aiming to reopen its sixth form in 2019 as it is due to officially close in September.

The academy announced in January last year that its sixth form would close from September 2016 due to funding cuts and declining student numbers.

However, a feasibility study has been carried out and Winsford Academy Governors and the Academy sponsor The Fallibroome Trust have launched a consultation on the future of the sixth form, announcing intentions to reopen in 2019.

Peter Rubery, Fallibroome Trust Executive Principal, said: “When the Trust was invited to sponsor the Academy in 2014 it was clear to all parties that the sixth form was unsustainable. Students in Vale Royal have attractive choices in Sir John Deane’s College and Mid Cheshire College and it’s no surprise that all other schools, bar the catholic sector, do not have sixth forms.

“It was pleasing to note that Ofsted supported our decision to suspend the sixth form in 2014 and focus our attention on raising standards in the main school.

“That objective was achieved and is reflected in a terrific report. Inspectors noted the academic support given to the current Year 13 but agreed that wider provision for personal development for sixth formers was not possible with such low numbers.”

As the last Year 13 students have now left the Governors are consulting on a formal proposal to close the sixth form, but are also already planning on what needs to be done to reopen the sixth form.

A report coming from the feasibility study points out that, according to Department for Eductation guidelines, the college will have to prove that it can recruit 200 students from the area and sustain that number before it would be allowed to reopen.

It would also have to prove that it can offer at least 20 A level subjects and remain financially viable.

The report states that reopening the post-16 provision would cost around £300,000 with at least £250,000 going toward staffing costs.

It is stated that aim now is to ‘secure the student numbers that will sustain a sixth form in the future and commission a second feasibility study in the 2017/18 academic year.’