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Improved Sixth Form Build Blocked

Plans to open a new Sixth Form Centre in Swindon, which have the overwhelming backing of parents and pupils at two of Swindon’s largest secondary schools, have stalled after the owners of the empty site, Luton Borough Council, where the new centre would be located said they’d prefer the building remained empty whilst they sought out a commercial tenant.

The proposed new Sixth Form centre would be based at the iconic Arclite House in Peatmoor in an empty unit that has been identified as a perfect location because it has the required facilities, and transport links and is equidistant from both Abbey Park School and Lydiard Park School.

75% of parents and two-thirds of students surveyed have shown support for the proposed new 6th form centre site.

Most parents surveyed said the new site would be ideal for the following key reasons: 

  • Easily accessible for all students within The Park Academies Trust – 74%
  • More bespoke sixth-form space and facilities – 75%
  • Improved teaching and learning environment for staff and students – 60%

The Trust has written to local MPs, in Swindon and Luton, and also to the Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, in the hope that the Luton local authority owners might be persuaded to reconsider the proposed site as a new Sixth Form Centre.   

Should the Trust be granted the lease, a new Sixth Form centre could be ready for the start of the next academic year in September. 

Benedick Ashmore-Short, CEO, The Park Academies Trust said: “Our students are hard-working and ambitious and we’ve seen remarkable achievements from Swindon’s sixth formers in recent years with an increase in A-level studies and successful applications to top universities.

“It feels as though our students are having a great opportunity taken away from them because the new centre would give the town’s young people even better chances of achieving their academic goals and aspirations.”

Owen Russell, Head of 6th Form, The Park Academies Trust said: “Swindon used to have one the lowest rates of students progressing onto university in the whole country, now we see two-thirds of our sixth form leavers entering Higher Education with a third of these securing places at the top universities in the UK. We want to expand and encourage even more students to fulfil their dreams but it feels as though Swindon’s sixth formers are being held back by unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.”

Adding his support to the plans for a new sixth form, South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland said: “I support the plans for a new site for The Park Academies Trust sixth form centre because it will be a real boost for pupils in Swindon wanting to pursue their post-16 education.

“The location offers improved facilities and easier access for students, staff and families and the plan is backed by a majority of pupils and parents. I hope that a swift agreement can be reached between The Park Academies Trust and the owners of Arclite House so that many of Swindon’s sixth form students can start seeing the benefits of the new site as soon as possible.”  

Check out various articles relating to this story at:

Swindon sixth form plans blocked by Luton council

Plans for a new 6th form in iconic building blocked

Popular plans proposing new sixth form centre in Swindon stalled

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