FROM September 2015, Midhurst Rother College (MRC) is aiming to make drastic changes to its student numbers and has been asking parents for their views.
It has gone out to public consultation on its plans to change admission numbers of pupils at the school.
The changes will bring down the number of students in Year 7 from 240 to 180.
The college has also altered its admission policy for sixth form places in line with a change in national government guidelines, which mean young people must now remain in education until the age of 18.
In line with this, MRC will introduce level two and level three vocational pathways in the sixth form to ‘meet catchment area demand for such courses’.
It is hoping to increase its published admission number (PAN) in Year 12 from 150 to 200 and to decrease its Year 7 PAN from 240 to 180.
Principal Dr Joe Vitagliano said: “Both I and the local governing body believe these proposed changes will be to the future benefit of our catchment area and we therefore strongly urge all consultees to support the proposals.”
Since opening as an academy in 2009, admissions to Year 7 have decreased from 158 in 2009 to 141 in 2012, but rose again in 2013 to 163.
Dr Vitagliano added: “While the initial number of students who express a choice for a Year 7 place at MRC in the period prior to admission is high, including first choices, the number arriving the following September has always been below the PAN.
“In recent years there has been a ten per cent fall between first choices, expressed at the time of application, and those arriving in September.”
As a result of raising the participation age (RPA), pupils currently in Year 11, and below, will be required to remain in education and training until the age of 18.
“Due to the change in RPA, it is anticipated there will be an increase in demand for sixth form places at Midhurst Rother College and so it wishes to increase its Year 12 PAN from 150 to 200, leading to a maximum sixth form size of 400,” said Dr Vitagliano.
In an eight-week consultation that started in December and ended this month, a document was given to parents and carers of all students currently at the college, parents and carers of all children in the catchment area aged two to 18, schools and nearby local authority sixth form colleges, secondary schools and academies, West Sussex County Council, town, parish, district and county councils, local MPs and teaching and support staff unions.
All parties were asked for their views and comments and by April 15, the college will have determined its admission arrangements and will send these to West Sussex County Council.