Link up will not stop sixth form centre closure in Haverhill

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Latest education news from the Haverhill Echo,, @haverhill on Twitter

Castle Manor Academy has confirmed it will continue with its intention to close its sixth form centre despite planning to merge with another academy.

The Castle Partnership Academy Trust (CPAT) revealed last week it is to link up with the Samuel Ward Academy Trust (SWAT) in a partnership that should be finalised by September.

However the merger will not save the school’s sixth form, which will shut in the summer of 2017.

Vanessa Whitcombe, head of school at Castle Manor Academy, said “We are still awaiting

a response from the Education Funding Agency regarding the closure of our sixth form.

“We still expect the closure to go ahead and working with the Samuel Ward Academy Trust will provide more post-16 opportunities for our students and staff.”

Castle Manor disclosed in November it was considering closing its sixth form as it currently has only 57 students and is not financially viable. A consultation ran until December and the school remained set on pressing ahead with the closure.

Howard Lay, chief executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, said although the partnership would make no difference to sixth form provision, education options would improve.

“This merely provides an opportunity to further strengthen the capacity of post-16 education in Haverhill at a time when so many towns are losing provision,” he said.

It is thought a new school for primary and secondary pupils will eventually be built at Castle Manor.

“We are still committed to that and hope to provide a 21st century building in the future,” said Jane Sendall, head of school at Place Farm Primary Academy.