Proposed Phased Closure of Sixth Form


Please see attached the consultation documents on the proposed phased closure of Chichester Free School Sixth Form, which we would welcome your views on. Although it is with deep and sincere regret that we are making this proposal, we feel absolutely confident that this is the right recommendation to ensure the future success of our school. The School’s finances are currently extremely robust; however, going forward we predict our post 16 cohort to continue to be less than half the numbers originally expected when the School first opened. This would jeopardise the School’s firm financial position and be highly detrimental to the distribution of educational resources for the rest of our pupils.

For further information as to why we feel obligated to make this proposal, please do read the consultation document.

As you know, the last few years have seen Chichester Free School flourish and grow to over 1,000 students. The School moved to its permanent home in 2018 at the former Carmelite Convent on the Hunston Road, which has been restored and made into a state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility. The School now enjoys being oversubscribed at every year group up to Year 11 and is a vibrant and happy place to learn, earning a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating twice in its short history. Going forward, we really want our full focus to be on the journey towards outstanding across Years R to 11. Whilst we are proposing to change our age range, we would still be an All Through School, offering a high standard of education for both primary and secondary aged pupils and supporting the transition between these two phases.

Please note: the current Year 12 cohort will continue into Year 13 with no changes and no disruption to their studies. After consultation, even if the Sixth Form is closed, all students that are currently in the Sixth Form will continue to be nurtured, challenged and inspired to do their very best and, as they are currently receiving very focused tuition with small class sizes, we are confident that they will achieve great success in their A Levels.

We would like to invite all of the current Year 12 and Year 13 parents and students to a meeting in the Carmelite Hall at 1800 on Thursday 17 October, to discuss and reassure them of the continued provision over the next 18 months, should this closure go ahead.

To help support our current Year 11s who will understandably be concerned by this proposal, please see an outline of post 16 Open Evenings in alternative local establishments on our website in the ‘Open Weeks' page within the Admissions section.

This is far from an ideal situation or one that any of us would have wished for. However, we are duty bound to make the best decisions for the continued and future success of the School. We hope you understand this difficult position. Your views are very important and we invite your comments through the proper consultation process, as set out by the Department of Education and Regional Schools Commissioner. Please do take the time to read our rationale and complete the consultation form attached here as a PDF and also attached here in Word format if you would like to put forward your opinion.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Louise New                               Mr Howard Oyns
Principal                                           Chair of Governors, Trustee of Sussex Education Trust

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