Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, has launched a campaign to prevent the formal closure of Wolsingham’s Sixth Form.
Wolsingham Sixth Form was formally moved to a suspended status in 2019 due to low pupil numbers – to be financially viable, the Sixth Form would need 100 pupils in each academic year. Two years after a suspension of a school or sixth form, a formal review is currently taking place to formally close a facility. Keeping a school in a suspended status costs nothing and means that the school could, in the future, move a school from suspended to open, with relative ease, avoiding the complicated process of getting a school started from scratch.
Richard is now campaigning to keep the school in its suspended status to ensure that the possibility of reopening it in the future remains. Richard is working with Will Wearmouth, a Stanhope parish councillor, and Steve Cowie, a Wolsingham resident of over 25 years, as they, amongst many other Weardale, Tow Law and Crook constituents want to prevent the school’s formal closure.
Richard has spoken to the local Trust, the Head of Wolsingham School, The Chair of Governors, the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Education Secretary about keeping the school in its suspended status. He has now launched a constituency survey on his website about the campaign.
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:
“One of the biggest concerns that so many constituents are raising with me at the moment is education. Our teachers are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances, to provide both remote learning and to educate the children of key workers and vulnerable kids in schools, as well as planning safe reopening of schools.
“The last thing we should be doing at the moment is removing the possibility of education within my constituency in the future and making access to further education more difficult. Keeping the school in its suspended status ensures that there is the possibility to reopen it in the future, which would allow us to level up our local education provision and ensure that young people have the best opportunities to fulfil their potential.
“Reopening the school is not something that can be done immediately, but I will continue to work with constituents, many of whom are passionate about this campaign, to ensure that the threat of formal closure does not become a reality and that the opportunity of reopening the sixth form, even in several years’ time, is maintained.”