Town leaders concerned over potential closure of sixth form

The Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Town councillors have expressed concerns over the possible closure of a sixth form college.

Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham, whose principal Mark Woodhouse is looking ahead following a tur

Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham, whose principal Mark Woodhouse is looking ahead following a turbulent period. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Swaffham Town Council (STC) received a letter from The Nicholas Hamond Academy making them aware of a consultation into the temporary closure of the sixth-form provision at the school.

The school, which is part of the Academy Transformation Trust, only had nine students enrolled in 2019-2020, which it described as "neither financially nor academically viable".

In the letter sent to the council, it said: "We believe firmly that the young people of Swaffham should have access to local, high-quality post 16 provision, and we also believe that The Nicholas Hamond Academy should offer this.

"In order to rebuild the provision, however, we will need to take a little time to develop a curriculum offer and staffing plan as well as a marketing and admissions plan."


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The school would plan to re-open the sixth form provision in September 2023, but at a virtual STC meeting on Wednesday, March 17, councillor Paul Darby said he was worried that "if it closes, it would never open again".

He said: "I'm very worried about this because once they get it closed I'm worried that it will never open again.

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"The problem with the sixth form is that they aren't teaching the right subjects, so they have to go to places like Kings Lynn."

Fellow councillor Les Scott said he felt it was important that STC made it clear how important the provision is for the town.

He said: "The sixth form shouldn't just have nine pupils there, it should have more because the town is growing.

"I'm not qualified to give them advice as to why they haven't got enough pupils but I think one thing is for sure, this town doesn't want to lose the sixth form and I think we should make that quite clear."

Councillors voted unanimously to contribute to the consultation to make clear how important it was for the provision to remain open.

The public consultation will run until April 11 with a report on the consultation to trustees for approval expected to take place in April.

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