Braintree: Sixth form full before it’s open

A new multi-million pound sixth form is likely to be oversubscribed after a nearby college axed A-Level courses.

Hundreds of students could be forced to study out of town as Braintree Sixth Form will be the sole provider of the qualification from next year, as Braintree College is pulling out.

The sixth form, which is being built at the Notley High School site, was designed to reverse a trend of students travelling to Colchester for further education.

But the £6 million centre, which saw more than 600 people attend last week’s open evening, can only take 150 lower-sixth students when it opens next September.

Simon Thompson, headteacher at Notley High School, said: “I think it’s quite probable we will be oversubscribed and obviously we are going to do our very best to respond if that’s the problem, including talking to the local authority about how we could move that situation forward.”

David Mason, interim principal at Braintree College, which has a campus in Church Lane, said it would “honour its commitment” to current first year (AS Level) students and allow them to complete courses in 2009/10, but first year courses would not be offered from that year.

He said the college would be “working closely” with the new sixth form to make sure students could choose from as wide a range of AS and A2 subjects as possible.

A-Level students only made up eight percent of students at the college, he said, and the planned merger with Colchester Institute meant it could increase the number of students on vocational courses.

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