A SIXTH Form that was suspended due to low student numbers as been kept in suspended status, instead of closing all together.

This comes after campaigning by local MPs and councillors and the work of the trust that runs Wolsingham School.

Wolsingham Sixth Form was formally moved to a suspended status in 2019.

To be financially viable, the Sixth Form would need 100 pupils in each academic year.

Two years after a suspension of a school or sixth form, a formal review of any school with elements of provision takes place.

The Advanced Learning Partnership Trust (ALP), which Wolsingham School is now a part of, initially sought to formally close the sixth form and end the prospect of a return of 16-18 provision to the school.

ALP consulted the public on the issue and came to the decision to keep the sixth form in suspended status.

Keeping a sixth form in a suspended status costs nothing and means that the sixth form could, in the future, move from suspended to open, with relative ease.

This does not mean the sixth form will reopen in the near future, but makes it easier than opening a sixth form from scratch.

The Regional Schools Commissioner has now written to Mr Holden to confirm that his campaign has been successful, stating that the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, believes that school should remain suspended for a further fixed period, set to be agreed with the Schools’ Trust. The Regional Schools Commissioner stated that the fixed period of suspension will provide an opportunity to increase pupil numbers at the school and look again at the possibility of restarting 6th form provision.

Education Secretary, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP said: “The school’s success at turning round 11-16 numbers with ALP’s support has been impressive and the campaign of Richard Holden MP, really giving a voice to the views of local people, have been fundamental in this decision to stop the formal closure of Wolsingham sixth form.

“I hope now that the trust and school look again at sixth form provision. After their success in turning around 11-16 provision, I hope that ALP will work with the local MP for the good of the young people and families towns and villages in Weardale and rural County Durham to do all they can to look at re-establishing this provision.”