Trinity School governors recommended that sixth form closure proposal is dropped

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Trinity School has taken a big step towards keeping its sixth form open after its governing body recommended that proposals for the temporary closure are dropped.

In a letter sent to ‘members of the Trinity Community’ on Friday, principal Chris Gabbett said the recommendation had been made to the school’s trustees - the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham

Pictured: Chris Gabbett (Principal - Trinity Catholic School). NNL-170214-173305009

Pictured: Chris Gabbett (Principal - Trinity Catholic School). NNL-170214-173305009

The reasons for the recommendation, as outlined in the consultation response document published last week, are that ‘all who took part in the consultation opposed the proposal’, that ‘re-modelling of finances after the Warwickshire County Council decision to not financially support redundancies indicated that to cut the sixth form as proposed would bring a significant five-year cumulative revenue deficit’ hence ‘the quickest route to a cumulative revenue surplus was to maintain sixth form’.

Also, ‘most opposition was on the grounds of the withdrawal of a Catholic educational pathway, the impact of the cuts on quality of education and retention and recruitment of students and staff, and the threat of this decision bringing about permanent closure’.

Mr Gabbett said: “We were faced with a situation where a school, that has been rated as Good by OFSTED twice during my headship, is threatened with partial closure.

“The financial elements of this are inarguable and well rehearsed.

“From here though, I ask that you engage with this as people of Trinity, manifesting that initial vision of resilience, servant leadership and love of others.

“It is indeed a dark time for education.

“I see my responsibility in this process as supporting my community in steering through these rocks.

“I cannot do this alone and I need my community to help me.

“I am incredibly fortunate that a number of parents have taken on a leadership role which has supported me immeasurably.

“I pray that this group maintains a strong presence in the coming two years because the ideas, vigour and inspiration they brought since February 10 has been incredible.”

The proposal to temporarily close the sixth form for the next few years, and the subsequent consultation into this, was put forward in February after the school’s governors, having met the trustees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, had said that several factors including “years of creeping austerity measures”, the “withdrawal of the discretionary bus subsidy causing a reduction in student numbers” and a “reduction of central government funding”, had contributed to the “unfortunate position”.

Year 11 pupil Oliver Webb launched a petition to keep the sixth form open for at least another year

And at Dale Street Methodist Church on Wednesday, wide support for keeping the sixth form open was shown at a public meeting attended by more than 100 people including Christopher Snelson - who is the chairman of governors at Trinity.

Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem, Milverton), who has two sons who previously attended Trinity School, spoke in favour of keeping the sixth form open.

Cllr Gifford said: “Trinity School has always had a very special ethos and recently has had a very good Ofsted report.

“The meeting showed the strength of support for the school and its sixth form not just from parents but also from the wider community.

“I am now hopeful that the future of the sixth form is assured.”