MORE than 90 per cent of 2,000 pupils, teachers, and parents in the Nunthorpe area of Middlesbrough agree with creating a sixth form centre in the town.

However, others involved in education, many of whom are from sixth form colleges on Teesside, have objected to the idea.

The idea has been proposed by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council local education authority, which is looking at ways of keeping higher education students in the area.

Consultation forms were distributed in Nunthorpe School, Gillbrook Technology College and Eston Park School and to the public.

More than 2,000 people completed the form, with more than 90 per cent agreeing with the idea.

Nearly half the responses came from Nunthorpe school, with 792 agreeing with the plan, against 21 opposed to it.

A further 42 per cent of responses came from the public, with the majority agreeing, saying it would mean less travel and might encourage more students to stay in education.

However, of 14 letters received by the authority about the issue, 13 were against the proposal, including seven from principals of other colleges.

Common themes in their arguments against the proposal included:

* A new college would work against a unified strategy of post-16-year-old education on Teesside;

* It would lead to a drop in numbers of sixth form students at other colleges - in 2001, 220 16-year-olds left the Nunthorpe area to study elsewhere;

* It would lead to the duplication of specialist provision;

* It would cost more money to education each student.

Most students from Nunthorpe transfer to Prior Pursglove College, in Guisborough.

In a joint letter, governors of the college and principal Stephen Whitehead said: "The loss of 250 Nunthorpe students would reduce college income by roughly £750,000.

"A reduction of 400 students, which adds those students who because of distance or location would be attracted to Nunthorpe, would result in a loss of £1,200,000.

"The cost of running the college would reduce proportionately."

Councillors will discuss the consultation report next week.