Bid for major new sixth form college submitted

Michael Gosling, Principal at Trinity Academy, Holmfield.
Michael Gosling, Principal at Trinity Academy, Holmfield.

The bid for a new 1,000-place sixth form in Halifax town centre has been sent to the Department for Education.

If successful, it will lead to a new college with a focus on A-Level subjects opening in September 2016.

Trinity Academy, Holmfield.

Trinity Academy, Holmfield.

The project has been overseen by Michael Gosling, headteacher at Trinity Academy, and has been put forward in response to more than 1,300 Calderdale students travelling to colleges in Kirklees to study A-Levels.

Mr Gosling said: “My philosophy when I was trying to get the bid was to try and get as much support as possible, so I approached as many people I could with the educational vision for why we wanted to do this.

“The educational argument was not lost - nobody has taken us on about why it’s not educationally right to do this.”

The college will be opened as a free school - a controversial government scheme that has been politically divisive.

Mr Gosling said: “I’m neither a fan or opponent of free schools - I’m not interested in the political side of it.

“When people keep talking to me about ‘the free school’, I keep talking about Calderdale 6th.

“When Trinity came along, it was the first sponsored academy in Calderdale - I had to field a lot of crackers questions about what this new academy was going to do.”

The sixth form bid did not get the backing of Calderdale Council following an amendment pushed through by the Labour group to hold more discussions on the school before offering its support.

Mr Gosling said: “The bid was put together as quickly as possible because I was keenly aware of the tight deadline.”

“Some of the support I’d hoped I could officially show, I couldn’t - one of the examples of this is the council.

“Would it have made the bid stronger? Yes. Does it fatally damage the bid? No.

“It’s a free school, and quite a few of these bids don’t enjoy council support.”

It will be known if the bid is successful by early next year.