Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has written to the Secretary of State for Education regarding the status of Wolsingham School Sixth Form.
Wolsingham Sixth Form was formally moved to a suspended status in 2019 due to low pupil numbers – to be financially viable, the Sixth Form would need 100 pupils in each academic year. Two years after a suspension of a school or sixth form, a formal review is currently taking place to formally close a facility. Keeping a sixth form in a suspended status costs nothing and means that the sixth form could, in the future, move from suspended to open, with relative ease, avoiding a complicated process of getting a sixth form started from scratch.
Richard is campaigning to keep the sixth form in its suspended status to ensure that the possibility of reopening it in the future remains. Richard is working with local residents and parents to campaign for the sixth form. He has already held meetings with the Trust, the Head of Wolsingham School, The Chair of Governors, and the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Education Secretary. You can read about Richard's campaign launch here.
As part of his campaign, Richard launched a constituency survey on the issue. Receiving hundreds of local responses to his survey, Richard has written to the Education Secretary, flagging that there is ‘incredibly strong feeling locally’ about the Sixth Form and that 98% of people surveyed back Richard’s campaign that the Sixth Form remain in its suspended status, keeping the option of re-opening in the future there, rather than close it. You can find the survey here.
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:
“It would be a huge mistake to move Wolsingham Sixth Form from its suspended status to a formally closed status – it would go against the wishes of my constituents and limit future options.
“No one should be in a position where they cannot easily access further education and keeping the school in its suspended status ensures that the possibility of it reopening remains – as the school has done incredibly well in improving pupil numbers recently, there is good reason to be optimistic about the possibility of the school reopening one day.
“I urge the Education Secretary and Regional Schools Commissioner to listen to my constituents. I will continue to campaign to level up education in North West Durham and ensure that all our young people have the opportunities that they deserve.”
To hear more about the work that Richard is doing for North West Durham, you can sign up here or input your details in the form on this page.