Sewell Park College to “pause” entry to its sixth form in 2015

John Catton, left, chairman of the interim executive board at Sewell Park College, with Jeremy Rowe,

John Catton, left, chairman of the interim executive board at Sewell Park College, with Jeremy Rowe, who has been seconded from Sir John Leman High in Beccles to lead the college during autum term, 2014. - Credit: Archant

A Norwich high school will 'pause' recruitment to its sixth form because it believes standards are not high enough.

Sewell Park College's interim executive board (IEB), which was appointed in July after Norfolk County Council removed its governors, announced the decision to staff, pupils and parents yesterday.

IEB chairman John Catton said the school would not accept any year 12 students - those who are due to sit their GCSEs this summer - into its sixth form next September.

He described the move as a 'pause' rather than a closure, and said the school was not planning to change its status as an institution for 11-18 year olds.

For the last two years, the school's exam results have been below the government's floor standard of 40pc of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths.

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In 2013, 33pc gained this standard. This summer, the figure rose slightly to 34pc, and headteacher Gavin Bellamy quit just before the start of the new academic year.

Mr Catton said: 'The reason for [the pause] is we are not satisfied that we have a strong enough main school base to feed into the sixth form to guarantee success.

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'We are far from satisfied with results in the sixth form recently.'

The news comes as current Year 11 students decide where to study next September.

Mr Catton said: 'Some of them are on the brink of completing application forms. We take it very seriously. We are totally committed to looking after the interests of people in the year 11 at the moment.'

He said the college will invite other sixth form providers to a fair at the college so students know what options are available.

He added: 'There is an overall good surplus of post-16 place in the city. That's important information for us because we would not be wishing to let our youngsters down in any way, shape or form.'

He said other schools had previously suspended sixth form recruitment for a period, only to re-start the provision later.

Mr Catton said the Sewell Park's finances would be hit by the reduction in students, but the impact would be delayed until April 2016, giving it time to manage the budget, and possibly avoid redundancies, through staff retiring or leaving the school.

The college is currently awaiting the outcome of a recent Ofsted inspection.

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