South East Wales

Sixth form shake-up plans in Bridgend amid subject fears

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A major shake-up of post-16 learning in Bridgend is being considered amid fears that some subjects are being lost.

Bridgend Council is considering slashing the number of sixth forms and opening a new state-of-the-art centre.

A council report says a combination of low take-up and budget pressures means some traditional subjects like music are not being taught in some schools.

The council said all options would be considered as part of the review.

It comes as the number of Bridgend students not going on to sixth form, training or work after year 11 stands at the lowest figure ever recorded at just 1.5%, that's 0.5% below the all-Wales average.

One option, to be considered by the council on Tuesday, would see all sixth forms close and be replaced with a new centre, while another would see students transfer to Bridgend College upon completing year 11.

A third option would still see the retention of one or more sixth forms with the opening of the new facility.

Meanwhile, Colleges Wales, which represents Wales' further education colleges, warned students were having to move between centres to access courses.

The plans come as Torfaen Council prepares to move all post-16 provision to a new £20m facility in Cwmbran from September 2019.

The report highlights how reducing budgets, the scrapping of a grant and the introduction of the revised Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification (WBQ), has created additional pressures on sixth forms, with low-take up meaning some traditional subjects are "being lost" in schools.

Councillor Charles Smith, cabinet member for education and regeneration said: "There are many options being considered but nothing has been decided yet and the analysis will continue before recommendations are presented to cabinet members in spring 2018.

"The public would then be fully consulted for their views."

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