Burnley MP lends her support to under threat sixth form

Thomas Whitham Sixth Form
Thomas Whitham Sixth Form

Burnley MP Julie Cooper has described the prospect of the town's only sixth form centre closing as "a huge body blow for the town".

Mrs Cooper was speaking as the future of Thomas Whitham Sixth From remains in the balance due to falling student numbers.

The Burnley Express reported last week that Lancashire County Council has now entered a consultation period with parents over the viability of keeping the sixth form in Barden Lane open.

Mrs Cooper said: “No one is more disappointed than I am that Lancashire County Council is consulting on the closure of Thomas Whitham Six Form.

"The college has provided education of the very highest standards for the last 10 years, successfully continuing the excellent work of the former Burnley Sixth Form Centre.

“Losing the sixth form would be a huge body blow for the town, depriving local young people of the chance to benefit from a traditional sixth form college. I will be responding to the consultation and opposing the closure in the strongest possible terms and I urge students past and present and their families to do the same.

“I will be meeting with students, parents and staff next week at Thomas Whitham to hear their views and will continue to work with all stakeholders to find a solution that keeps this excellent sixth form open for future cohorts of young people from Burnley and Padiham.”

Thomas Whitham Sixth Form is currently the subject of a consultation on the future viability of the school due to a worsening financial situation.

The sixth form opened in September 2006, as part of the first wave of a nationwide 10 to 15 year programme of capital investment funded by the Department for Education under the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Despite Good Ofsted Inspections Thomas Whitham has faced low student numbers over successive years.

The deadline for consultations is the end of November.