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Sixth Forms

Volume 453: debated on Monday 20 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the impact of new school sixth form provision on the (a) overall retention of 16 to 19-year-olds in an area and (b) the overall proportion of young people not engaged in education, employment or training in an area. (101396)

Recent academic research published by the Learning and Skills Network finds that the local mix of post-16 institution types is not the most important determinant of whether or not a student goes on to participate post-16.

We believe that choice and diversity are powerful levers for driving up quality and increasing participation rates. This will include more school sixth forms and we have introduced measures to make it easier for successful schools to open sixth forms where there is pupil and parental demand to extend quality and choice for local students.

The recent FE White Paper showed that the staying-on rate for those with any good GCSE passes—who now form the majority of the cohort—is higher in schools with sixth forms, and also that the overall staying-on rate is higher in such schools.

Collaboration post-16 between schools, and between schools and colleges, will be essential to ensure critical mass and sufficient choice for learners, particularly in light of the development of specialised diplomas, which will be available nationwide.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools applied (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully to open a sixth form in (i) 2004, (ii) 2005 and (iii) between January and October 2006. (101397)

Proposals to establish new school sixth forms, made by local authorities or school governing bodies, are decided locally. The Secretary of State plays no part in the decision making process.

The following table sets out the numbers of statutory proposals for new school sixth forms published in 2005 and 2006 and outcomes. No proposals for new school sixth forms were published in 2004.

2005

2006

Total published

5

21

Approved

3

5

Rejected

1

0

Awaiting decision

1

16