MP John Hayes has declared himself “a very strong supporter” of the South Holland Post 16 Centre and wants to see it retained to give Spalding sixth form students more study options.
Today (Thursday) both the Post 16 and its linked Sir John Gleed School, newly named Spalding Academy, officially switch from education trust CfBT (CST) to Bourne Academy’s trust, known as South Lincolnshire Academy Trust (SLAT).
The Spalding Guardian revealed last week the Post 16 isn’t taking on any new students this term, which has prompted speculation over the £3milion centre’s future.
The bombshell news coincided with celebrations by Post 16 students who achieved outstanding results in BTEC as 66 per cent gained Distinction* or Distinction, equal to three A* or A grades at A-level.
Mr Hayes, the South Holland and the Deepings MP, says he was given assurances that “things were going ahead as normal” so far as the Post 16 was concerned when he met SLAT earlier this year.
He said: “Obviously it’s not great to hear they are not taking on students. I think SLAT have got to make a decision on what they want to do with the Post 16 Centre. I think it’s an important facility in the town and I think it’s good to have another set of Post 16 options available to students in this town.
“I will certainly encourage its continuation. I remain a very strong supporter of it.”
Until the South Holland Post 16 Centre opened its doors in 2008, students from Spalding who wanted to pursue vocational courses found themselves travelling to neighbouring towns.
Mr Hayes says the Post 16 has “a proven track record of achieving excellent results” and he will let the new trust know his feelings on its key role in Spalding. “I think it’s an important facility that needs to be maintained,” he said.
In recent months, CfBT was accused of running the centre down by placing a question mark over its future.
Last week Lucy Conley, on behalf of SLAT, said the centre was not admitting new students in September due to the low numbers who applied but all options would be considered for its future.