Boost for city’s sixth form teens

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PRIORITY is to be given to Sheffield teenagers seeking places in the city’s popular sixth form schools – thanks to changes being introduced from September 2012.

A new policy will favour city youngsters ahead of those from outside Sheffield boundaries, giving them a better chance of sixth form places in schools like Tapton, High Storrs and Silverdale.

Currently, places are allocated on the basis of how far away pupils live from the schools they are applying for.

This has led to strong complaints from families living in areas in the north of the city like Stocksbridge and High Green. They say they are being denied places at the expense of young people from outside Sheffield who are closer to the schools in the south west.

The new policy comes after extensive consultations.

Coun Colin Ross, Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This should go a long way to allaying people’s fears and helping Sheffield’s future generations get the education they deserve, while also raising aspirations and attainment levels.”

Sixth form schools have for the last few years been mainly based in south-west Sheffield, although it is changing with A-level courses now available more widely at colleges like Longley Park, Peaks and Hillsborough.

A link between Meadowhead School and Norton College has increased options for students in the south.

The new Forge Valley Community Trust School will have sixth form places when it opens in September and Bradfield and Stocksbridge pupils will have the priority for places there.

Forge Valley head Diane McKinlay said: “Nearly all the applications came from the north west schools and the vast majority are for advanced courses, mostly A-levels.”