Burnley MP Julie Cooper has visited the under threat Thomas Whitham Sixth Form this week to hear from students, staff and parents about how closing the school would affect them.
The Burnley Express revealed last month that Thomas Whitham Sixth Form had approached Lancashire County Council in July to say that it was worried about its future due to ‘concerns about financial viability.’
Mrs Cooper said: “It was wonderful to spend a morning at Thomas Whitham Sixth Form with staff, students and parents. It was clear from talking to everyone that the school offers excellent education in a caring environment that suits many young people, particularly those with additional needs who may struggle in a larger college environment.
“Thomas Whitham is a nurturing environment that encourages students to reach their potential. It would be a real body-blow to the town if the sixth form were to close as there is no comparable post-16 education provision in the town.”
Mrs Cooper met several students who told her that they felt they would struggle in larger college environments. They felt that the closure of the sixth form will interrupt their studies and force them to attend schools outside of Burnley, potentially incurring expensive travel costs to do so.
She added: “The consultation process should be focused on options to keep Thomas Whitham open rather than taking the extreme and detrimental step of closing the school. To do so would put further financial pressure on the other schools on Burnley Campus who share services with Thomas Whitham and other community users of the site.”
A petition has been set up by concerned parents which has already been signed by over 1500 people. You can sign the petition here http://chng.it/6QcZFDMc.
Lancashire County Council opened its consultation on September 16, and you have until November 1 to complete the survey. You can complete the consultation here https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=156819179760.