New £45m free school for 500 A-level students ‘beggars belief’, say college leaders


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The Independent Online

Leaders of England’s sixth-form colleges are dismayed by Government plans to spend £45m on a free school for 500 A-level students, as revealed by The Independent last week.

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said:  “This is a truly incomprehensible decision.”

The money being spent setting up the free school, backed by leading independent school Westminster, contrasts with cuts in the past three years to the budgets of the 93 existing sixth-form colleges.

Some will have lost a third of their funding by the end of this Parliament and have been forced to scrap A-level courses in subjects such as languages and maths.

“It beggars belief to discover that £45m has been found to establish an institution that will take less than a third of the number of students enrolled in an average sixth-form college,” said Mr Kewin.

The National Union of Teachers has set up an online petition to protest about the decision.