School shelves its sixth form

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A SECONDARY school has scrapped an intake of A-level students for the next year because of a lack of interest, it has been revealed.

With schools finally resuming next week from the summer break, Market Weighton School has taken the unusual step of turning away potentially new sixth-form students who have just received their GCSE results.

It is another blow to the Spring Road school who were put into special measures last year following a damning report by Ofsted inspectors.

Yet acting headteacher Gavin Chappell says the report had forced them into making the tough decision.

He said: “When we went in to special measures it was about the same time as when the students were making their decisions, and quite rightly, parents maybe did not want them to come here with everything that had gone on - you can’t blame them for that.

“The numbers that wanted to come back was very low, about 20 in total. There have been sixth forms run with that many students before, but not now given everything that has happened.

“We are disappointed that there will not be a year 12 this year but the idea is to get it back up and running for 2012. We will take a good look at how we can do it.”

Mr Chappell says the students who have just received their GCSE results and were hoping to return to Market Weighton School this month to begin A-level studies have since found alternative colleges. The majority have opted to either head for York College, Bishop Burton College, or South Hunsley School, for a which a daily bus is being organised.

A handful of students have also opted to join the sixth-form at Woldgate College in Pocklington.

The current crop of sixth-form students at Market Weighton, who will be starting in year 13 next week, are due to continue with their studies as normal.

Meanwhile, Mr Chappell is confident the struggling school can be lifted out of special measures in the near future, and can continue to progress after showing improvement in their recent GCSE results.

The school, which had over 600 pupils last year, was placed in to special measures following a visit by inspectors in October. They found expectations of both staff and pupils were worryingly low, achievements were not as high as they could have been and weaknesses had not been addressed.

However, the school has since made progress under the guidance of Mr Chappell, who recently took over from former head, Phil Tibbetts, after he was forced to step down due to ill health.

In July, the school received a visit from HM Inspectorate of Education inspectors - working directly for Ofsted - who were pleased with the progress the school had made, and noted that positive changes were apparent across the school.

*Turn to page 20 and 21 for this year’s GCSE results