Another Norfolk high school will close its sixth form

Headteacher Paul Marsh: Picture Smithdon High School

Headteacher Paul Marsh: Picture Smithdon High School - Credit: Archant

A third Norfolk school in two years is set to close its sixth form.

Parents and pupils have been told Smithdon High in Hunstanton will not accept new students into its sixth form next September, and it has cancelled an open evening on November 10 it had planned for pupils thinking of studying there.

It joins Sewell Park College in Norwich, which announced in 2015, before it became an academy, it would close its sixth form, and Iceni Academy in Methwold, which this summer said it was suspending its sixth form for a year.

A government review of the future of other post-16 further education in Norfolk and Suffolk is due to get underway next month.

Smithdon High is due to become an academy within the West Norfolk Academies Trust, which is based at Springwood High School in King's Lynn.

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In a letter to parents, Smithdon headteacher Paul Marsh, who has announced he will stand down the day before the school becomes an academy, said: 'Year 11 students considering post-16 options need to be aware that there will not be an intake to Smithdon High School Sixth Form in September 2017.

'The West Norfolk Academies Trust has indicated to us that it will operate a single sixth form for its four member secondary schools, based at Springwood High School.'

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He said it came 'in the face of forecasts of further education spending cuts, where sixth form funding has already suffered real-terms funding cuts of around 14pc between 2010 and 2015', and the change would 'maintain cost-effective quality provision for post-16 students in the area'.

As well as Springwood, the trust also includes St Clement's High, in Terrington St Clement, and Marshland High, in West Walton.

Andy Johnson, executive headteacher of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, said the closure of Smithdon's sixth form was not a condition of it joining the trust.

He added: 'Springwood Sixth Form provides an outstanding provision for the people of west Norfolk.

'Students chose to travel a distance from their original community to attend an outstanding provision, and already a number of Smithdon students attend and we would hope that many more will in the future.'

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