A new sixth form exclusively focused on academic A-levels is to open in Sheffield next year after education chiefs approved the plan.
Proposals for Chapeltown Academy have been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education – the first free school plan in Sheffield to be given the green light.
The sixth form would offer 300 students the chance to study ‘rigorous A-level subjects in a small, focused and dynamic environment’.
It also aims to fill what project leaders say is a gap in the area for academic rather than vocational post-16 provision.
Currently, students in the area are travelling long distances to take the A-levels that they need.
Tom Beaumont, a spokesman for the academy trust, said: “It’s very good news and we are looking to be possibly the first free school to open in Sheffield.
“We are hoping to open in September 2014.”
The committee behind the plans now has to find a Chapeltown site for the sixth form as a first priority, decide whether they will lease or create a new building, as well as recruiting 26 staff and students to bring the proposals to reality.
Consultation will be undertaken and a funding agreement needs to be secured with the Secretary of State for Education.
Teacher Mr Beaumont said there had been ‘massive interest’ in the academy proposals so far – with 300 potential pupils.
He said: “The first thing we had to do was evidence demand.
“From day one we said that in the area there is acceptable provision for pupils who want to go down the vocational route but we feel those who want to focus on a more academic education are losing out.”