PRIESTLEY College – the area’s leading provider of A-Levels and Vocational qualifications – is consulting parents, students and stakeholders about a proposal to become a 16-19 academy.
If approved, Priestley College will remain independent but play a leading role in a multi-academy trust in the town.
Principal Matthew Grant said there were numerous advantages to becoming an academy that would benefit students, staff and education in Warrington.
“Forming The Challenge Academy Trust (TCAT) will allow us to work with a number of schools in Warrington and the surrounding area to improve the outcomes for young people,” he said.
“Pupils from all schools will be welcome at Priestley, which will remain an inclusive college – a quality of which we have always been extremely proud.
“Our proposal is for the College to sit alongside secondary and primary schools within the trust and this requires us to have our legal status changed to ‘academy’.
“There will be no change to the courses or the extremely high standards of education at Priestley College. We will continue to inspire, challenge and support all of our students to ensure they achieve their full potential.”
The proposal follows the Government’s Area Reviews of Further Education. Advisors agreed that Priestley was ‘well managed’, offered high quality programmes and was in a ‘very good financial position’ to become an academy.
A number of colleges across the country face significant change whilst Priestley, because of its excellent track record, has been able to consider all options and believes becoming a 16-19 academy is the best step for its students’ futures.
Matthew Grant said the proposal offered numerous advantages including:
- A structure that encourages the sharing of good practice between schools and the college
- The creation of a driving force for improvements to local education
- Potential of an even smoother transition for young people from school to college
- Savings of up to £250,000 a year due to a change in the College’s VAT status (academies do not pay VAT)
- The formation of a network that provides breadth and choice in the provision available to young people
Parents and other stakeholders have until November 30 to respond. A response will be published no later than January 31 and, if approved, Priestley College will become an academy on April 1.
Open consultations will be taking place in October and more details can be found at www.priestley.ac.uk