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Sixth form project gets £25m funding
More than 1,000 new sixth form places have moved a step closer after the council agreed to spend £25m on the project.
All five comprehensive secondary schools will get between £3m and £7m for the buildings, which they hope will be ready to open by September 2014.
The three academies in the borough will also have £300,000 each on top of their Government funding to spend on costs and equipment for their own sixth forms.
Richmond Council has begun feasibility studies into the buildings and facilities at Waldegrave School, Teddington School and Orleans Park School and will turn its attention to the others in the autumn.
Philippa Nunn, headteacher of Waldegrave School, in Twickenham, said: “We are excited by the opportunity to develop sixth forms in Richmond schools and grateful for the funding to enable this to happen.
“We are working closely together through the Richmond post-16 partnership in order to ensure we are fully prepared for this development.”
Councillor Geoffrey Samuel, deputy leader of Richmond Council, said the sixth forms would have few students in their first year but would grow to each take up to 250, except for Christ’s School which will have 180.
He said: “A totally misleading rumour has been circulating that in order to accommodate a sixth form, entry at year 7 will be reduced. That’s categorically not the case.”
The council’s cabinet agreed how it would spend the £25m at a meeting on Thursday, July 19.
Councillor Paul Hodgins, cabinet member for schools at Richmond Council, said: “Earlier this year 77 per cent of parents and other residents told us they are in favour of establishing sixth forms at our five maintained secondary schools.
“Since then, we have agreed to move forward with our plans and all headteachers have been meeting regularly with council officers and the principal of Richmond College to develop further exactly what this provision will look like, considering issues such as the curriculum and staffing.
“However, to accommodate such a large rise in headcount at each school, it is also important that we invest money into existing facilities and create new buildings if required.
“In addition, while they are not directly maintained by the council, we also want the sponsored academies to incorporate sixth forms. To enable this they too will have to adapt their facilities.”