All Saints RC School and Manor CE Academy are launching a proposal to set up an associated sixth form – building on an already outstanding provision in the city.
The proposal is for a jointly governed, faith based associated sixth form which will have a new name and will start in September 2015. Up to 240 places in total would be made available for Year 12.
A formal consultation period will run from 1 February to 31 March 2014, where all views will be considered before a decision is made. There will also be public consultation meetings at both schools.
All Saints headteacher, Mr Bill Scriven, said: “All Saints has been a preferred sixth form for Manor students for some years now. With an associated sixth form we feel that we have a fantastic opportunity to combine the expertise of both organisations and take an already first class provision to an even higher level.”
Manor CE Academy principal, Mr Brian Crosby, added: “The opportunity to join forces with All Saints and create a faith based, associated sixth form, jointly governed, is exciting and I hope people will support our proposals.”
There are five key reasons which make All Saints and Manor believe that now is the right time to set up an associated sixth form. They are:
• Faith and a history of working together – continuing education in a Christian context and sharing expertise;
• Continuity – for the first time, Manor students will be guided through their further education by a sixth form staff which will include some Manor teachers;
• A larger range of courses – All Saints’ impressive range of courses will be supplemented by Manor’s specialist facilities at The Hive and The Hub, enriching the selection available to students and special educational needs students;
• Economy of scale – many Manor students already choose All Saints for sixth form provision. Joining forces increases student numbers; and
• Financial viability – no-one needs reminding that these are tough times economically and so value for money is a key concern that must be addressed.
The consultation period allows people with an interest in the proposal to submit their views and both schools urge them to take part in the consultation by completing the questionnaire, accessed by both school websites or by post.
All responses will be collated and a final submission made to the government’s Education Funding Agency. The business case will be considered and a recommendation made to the Secretary of State for Education, who will make the final decision.
The two schools have a long history in York, with the Bar Convent, the predecessor school to All Saints, arriving in the mid-16th Century and Manor at the start of the 19th Century.
Both are committed to church school education with the gospel at the heart of their provision. While All Saints is a Roman Catholic school and Manor is a Church of England academy, both sets of values and aims are in line with a passion to develop young people in the context of exploring the Christian faith.
Academically, both schools are high achievers with exam results consistently above both local and national averages.
The two schools have been informally discussing the possibility working together on post-16 provision for ten years, although it has only been in the last six months that a workable proposal has started to come together.
The major benefit of the proposed associated sixth form for Manor students, is the continuity of the support network which has developed over the previous five years. Manor believe their knowledge of their students and families would provide comfort and encouragement as the young people step up to the next level in their education.
With greater numbers of students comes the ability to offer a rich and varied range of over 50 post-16 courses.
All Saints has a high reputation for academic excellence and is considered outstanding for its post-16 provision. At the start of the association, A-level teaching would take place on the All Saints campus. Vocational performing arts courses and post-16 special educational needs provision would take place at Manor.
The trend has very much been for a significant number of Manor students to go to All Saints, where they can continue their education in a high achieving, academically diverse and Christian context.
Mr Scriven said: “There are clear benefits for both our organisations in a joint venture. It is very exciting that two high achieving schools should come together in this way. It is the best example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”
Admission arrangements to the current All Saints sixth form for this year are unaffected. The proposal will be submitted after the two months consultation period.
The public meetings at Manor and All Saints in early February raised a series of interesting questions and we are very grateful to the many people who provided useful input. We have continued our discussions since the meetings and some aspects to our original proposals have been refined as a result.
We are publishing the answers to questions asked at the public meetings so that everyone can benefit from the discussions that were held. Hopefully this will help inform decisions when replying to the consultation. Some questions have been combined to reduce duplication and all answers have been agreed by both schools. For further clarification, or to ask any other questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. If you have previously taken part but have now changed your mind, email us with your details and we will amend your vote.
When you have read the answers and want to express your preference, please click here.
Does All Saints have enough space for 400-odd sixth form students?
Admittedly it’s a squeeze on the present site, but it can be done with some creative use of timetabling and there is the possibility of additional building space becoming available. As people are aware, All Saints is looking for a new site – one which will accommodate a suitably-sized sixth form – but nothing has been finalised. The sixth form will be a part of the main school as it has always been. Please be reassured that the standards and the quality we have built up over the years and of which we are very proud, will not be compromised.
What will be the admission criteria? You say there will be a preference for All Saints and Manor students, but what about Catholic students from other York schools, or who are new to York?
Once places have been allocated to students from All Saints and Manor, the first priority for the remaining places will be Catholic students. However, we would like to point out that we would welcome students from other schools of faith or no faith, who would be in agreement with the values of the associated sixth form.
What are the chances of the associated sixth form population being totally All Saints and Manor? Surely this plan restricts students from other schools?
It is difficult in the first instance to accurately predict how many students from All Saints and Manor will apply to the new sixth form. Currently the two schools fill 160-180 of the places at All Saints sixth form. It is envisaged that we would enlarge the sixth form from the current 200 to 240 Year 12 places and would expect more Manor students to apply. How many more will apply will be tested in the first year’s admission round. The governors will then look to either increase or to maintain the total admission number. This would depend on accommodation on the current All Saints site. We are in discussions with third parties regarding extending that accommodation. All Saints’ current sixth form is enhanced by students from other schools and while the associated sixth form is predominantly aimed at providing places from both schools, we would hope that it would be a school of choice for many other young people.
What are the numbers coming through from Manor?
Last year, 41 students from Manor attended All Saints’ sixth form. Even before this proposal was put together, the trend has been for more and more Manor students to continue their education in a distinctively faith based environment.
If the proposal goes through, can Manor students and All Saints students still choose other sixth forms?
Yes and we would actively work with students to help them decide which would be best for them. It has always has been the case at All Saints that specific courses from other sixth form providers may be a better fit for some students.
What if a student wanted to do a combination of, say, drama, history and English – how would that work over the two sites?
The current plan is that A-levels would be taught on the All Saints campus. Drama A-level would therefore remain on the All Saints site and would be timetabled among the A-level options. It is, however, envisaged that vocational performing arts courses would be taught on the Manor site in one- or two-day blocks with those students returning to the All Saints site for additional A-level studies spread over the remaining days. Students will not be travelling throughout the day between the two sites.
Will students just have to accept that due to the split site, some subject combinations are simply not possible?
All existing subject combinations provided on the All Saints site will remain and, due to the additional numbers, there will be more flexibility. For example, there may be three geography groups instead of two, which means greater flexibility for where those are taught in the week. Where new courses are offered, such as the vocational courses on the Manor site, then students will need to be aware of possible combinations and potential clashes – but these clashes exist in every post-16 institution. Students will be made aware of the implications of any new course choices. It is also our aspiration over time to introduce new courses, both A-level and Level 3 vocational.
How would the movement of Manor students to the All Saints site, and All Saints students to the Manor site, work in practical terms?
We know that travelling between sites several times a day is unlikely to be well received by students. We anticipate timetabling blocks of study time at one campus or the other on different days of the week .
How will you integrate extra-curricular activities if you are on split sites?
The existing extra-curricular programme at All Saints forms an extremely important part of the students’ week. It gives them an opportunity to develop as rounded young people. This programme will continue and be expanded. It is potentially the case that the sports facilities at Manor, including the state-of-the-art sports hall and all-weather pitch, can be used for sporting activity and there will be numerous opportunities for students to serve on the Manor site in a range of practical ways. Already a significant number of young people return to Manor on a Wednesday afternoon to support drama, PE and geography. They all play an important role in assisting in Learning Support.
If a new site has yet to be confirmed for All Saints, doesn’t this represent a very real risk to these proposals? What if it’s a long way away?
All Saints is the only Catholic secondary school in York and many students travel from outside the city, by rail or by bus, to attend. Wherever the new site ends up, it is essential it will still be within a reasonable distance from these transport hubs.
Special educational need provision at Manor is impressive – but how will that support All Saints students?
At the present time the two schools are developing a plan for post-16 provision for Special Educational Needs and Disabled (SEND) students. It is hoped that the provision will complement existing opportunities within the city and not compete for places. We will therefore be talking to other post-16 providers to find out the best opportunities for our young people. Once again, students will need to apply to enter the sixth form and there will be a limited number of places available due to accommodation pressures. Priority will be given to students from the two schools, however additional students from other schools would be welcomed. Both schools are aware that the needs of SEND students will be met in a range of institutions and that maybe our post-16 offer is not the best for every child. The needs of individual students will be at the heart of all planning.
Would you offer vocational courses other than drama? The catering kitchen at Manor is state-of-the-art – surely a vocational course in catering should be considered? For special needs if not mainstream students?
Drama is currently taught as an academic A-level in the All Saints sixth form. Currently the plan is for additional vocational provision in the performing arts based in The Hive at Manor. The Hive was designed to be a world-class educational facility for the creative media diploma, a qualification which has been replaced by GCSEs pre-sixth form and by Level 3 vocational qualifications at sixth form. The space would, therefore, be ideal for vocational performing arts courses.
The use of the catering kitchens is more problematic in that they already have heavy use within the 11-16 element of Manor CE Academy and demand is likely to increase over the next few years. Realistically, the facilities would struggle to hold vocational catering qualifications without the need for expansion, which might be prohibitively expensive. The kitchen is already used by SEND students and it is planned to provide Level 1 qualifications in the near future. These could easily extend into post-16.
Might there be an issue with the emphasis on vocational qualifications at Manor? The perception is that vocational qualifications are second rate. They’re not, but the perception is there.
We do not think that providing a vocational offer on the Manor campus will make people think Manor is a “second rate” institution. We strongly believe that vocational courses, delivered well, result in first rate qualifications. What is important is the overall provision of the sixth form, which is predominantly A-level based. It has to be sensible to utilise facilities to provide the widest possible range of courses for our joint student bodies.
I can understand the attraction for Manor, but what’s in this for All Saints?
The leadership of All Saints is looking to the future and wants to maintain high quality post-16 Catholic education in the city of York. The fact is, the number of Catholic students entering the system is reducing. Coupled with financial pressures – there have been sizeable reductions in funding at post-16 – it is essential that All Saints provides a large and inclusive sixth form offer. The pattern over the last five years has been for the sixth form to expand, which compensates for the reduction in funding. They attract significant numbers of young people from other institutions, of which Manor is currently the largest. This proposal would therefore ensure a vibrant and distinctive Catholic and Anglican sixth form that would be stable, financially viable and offer high standards in academic excellence.
From the students’ perspectives, if they are still on roll at Manor, in practical terms how are they going to benefit if they are based on another campus? How would they still be able to link in with things happening at Manor if they are elsewhere? And vice versa?
Currently Manor students scatter at 16 into a wide range of education providers. While the academy can recommend and support young people in their applications, giving impartial Advice and Guidance, the amount of support that can be provided post-16 is extremely limited. Even with this plan, students can still choose to become independent at 16 by choosing another post-16 provider. The proposal would ensure a continued relationship between the students and the home school. There would be ongoing welfare support by colleagues who know the young people, there would be some teaching by Manor staff post-16 (which it is hoped will grow significantly over the next five to seven years) and there would be opportunities for students to return to their home school on a regular basis to engage with younger students. The facilities at Manor will be joint facilities for post-16 education and returning students would not be visitors but would be part of the community. One potential advantage is that having 100 of your peers together in the post-16 environment, instead of 30-40, will feel like an associated sixth form and not that Manor students are simply joining someone else’s provision.
For the All Saints students, the changes will be significantly less dramatic as they will still be in the buildings providing Key Stage 4 education and with many of the staff that are familiar to them. One change would be that the percentage of students from Manor would increase, however, recent experience tells us that relationships between the two students bodies develop quickly and that friendship groups emerge across the student body within days.
Would this move actually make it more difficult to get into other sixth forms? Would it make it harder to go to York College?
It would not affect anyone’s chances of applying for a place at a different sixth form.
How will you manage the differences in the two denominations?
Currently the All Saints sixth form is made up of:
- Catholic students coming via All Saints,
- non-Catholic students coming via All Saints,
- students from a wide range of other Christian denominations coming via Manor CE Academy,
- students from no faith background coming from Manor and
- a significant number of other students from other schools who do not necessarily have a faith background but choose to come to the school because of its academic reputation.
They are all asked to support the school’s ethos and values and these principles will apply in the associated sixth form, should it go ahead. This issue has been addressed in many joint church schools such as St Francis Xavier in Richmond and by the associated sixth form at St John Fisher and St Aidan’s in Harrogate. Students will continue to take a course of Core RE. Opportunities will be provided for students to take part in both Anglican and Roman Catholic Eucharistic services. Both traditions are respected and are not merged into some diluted hybrid. It is very important for young people to be able to see and understand each other’s traditions. The leadership of both the Anglican communion and the Roman Catholic church emphasise on a daily basis the need for both denominations to work together. We are not two faiths, we are Christians with different liturgical traditions but with the same core beliefs.
Does Manor have capacity for sixth form provision for performing arts?
Not only does Manor have some of the best theatre facilities in the country, but it is staffed by people with a knowledge and a passion for post-16 education in this subject. Yes, it has capacity.
Can you provide assurance that, providing the All Saints or Manor student gets the required GCSE grades, they will get a place at the new associated sixth form?
The purpose of this exercise is to enrich the existing provision for both sets of students and so everything is being structured to make sure a place at the associated sixth form is available for every student, at All Saints or Manor, who achieves the entrance grades, as long as it is suitable for them.
Will All Saints’ association with Archbishop Holgate’s School cease if this proposal goes ahead?
Definitely not, we will continue to work collaboratively with all other schools and sixth form providers in York.
Is there opposition from other sixth forms?
It is fair to say there is a degree of nervousness from some who are not in possession of the facts, which is what we are trying to address with these questions and answers. We find that once we are able to sit down and talk to other providers, we can offer reassurance and they understand what we are trying to achieve with our unique, faith based associated sixth form.
Accountability – who looks after the management of teachers and who is accountable for teaching standards?
The proposal is very clear in that accountability sits as a joint responsibility between both governing bodies. There will be a joint management team set up that will meet on a weekly basis to look at standards and ensure the highest possible level of provision. This is not an easy undertaking but is essential if the sixth form is to be recognised as outstanding. There has to be honesty in every aspect of the work, and that includes tackling under performance – young people only get one chance to undertake A-level studies and we need to get it right.
If this goes ahead, are there any disadvantages for Manor’s 11-16 students given that staff there will now also be focussing on post-16 provision?
We believe that, if anything, this will add to the dynamic. So many Manor students over the years have echoed the desire to stay on but it has not been possible. The change of status from 11-16 to 11-18 will make the school more appealing to parents looking for secondary education for their primary school children; and students in the school will clearly be able to see the progression into early adulthood. We hope they will take comfort, security and inspiration from that.
Are the respective church bodies in agreement with this plan?
Yes and are fully supportive of continued development of our plans. They see this for what it is – a fine example of Christian unity. We have the backing of the Bishop of Middlesbrough, the Roman Catholic diocese of Middlesbrough and York Diocesan Board of Education (DBE). Manor is governed by the York DBE, the Dean and Chapter of York Minster and the Archbishop of York – all of these bodies are supporting the proposal. This consultation process will help inform their decisions.
Are there any potential difficulties in setting up this associated sixth form, given that Manor is an academy and All Saints is not?
There are no legal obstacles and the two governing bodies will draft a binding agreement setting out terms of reference. Regardless of the outcome of next year’s General Election, we do not believe there will be any advantage or indeed disadvantage to the fact that one school has academy status and the other does not.
Will there be more courses in 2015 than now?
Currently the plan is for a similar number of courses to be provided in 2015 in the traditional A-level subjects. However, we are excited about the prospect of developing some vocational Level 3 qualifications and a range of qualifications at Level 1 and 2 for students with SEND.
Are you considering offering the International Baccalaureate?
Generally, sixth forms either offer the International Baccalaureate or A-levels. We shall offer A-levels.
Does the current All Saints sixth form integrate with the rest of the school?
All Saints currently has a lower school site on Nunnery Lane, for Years 7, 8 and 9 and an upper school site on Mill Mount Lane for Years 10 and 11, plus the sixth form. Although there are logistical and financial challenges operating from two sites, for the students it works really well – the younger ones are not overwhelmed by the transition from primary school as it’s less of a leap than at other secondaries. And there is a more mature, college-like atmosphere on the upper school site. Sixth formers have their own common rooms but for studies they share the rest of the upper school facilities.
Does the plan have the support of the Local Authority? Does this matter?
Both schools are in discussion with the City of York Local Authority (LA) as to the best way forward. While the LA cannot automatically block this move, the governors and the government will take seriously the results of this consultation, the Local Education Plan and any other considerations. The schools have been in informal dialogue with the LA for the past two years. We are also actively engaging in dialogue with other educational providers.
Will there be a dress code?
It is envisaged that the existing All Saints dress code will continue in the associated sixth form. The dress code is “suitably appropriate for a study environment”.
You talk of a new name for the entity – will this be completely different from All Saints/Manor?
This issue is being looked at by both governing bodies and it is hoped to reach a decision before submitting the detailed proposal to the Education Funding Agency.
What kind of costs, time and energy are being put into the search for a new site and for the associated sixth form? Presumably there is some kind of shared budget for the associated sixth form work with Manor?
Regardless of any outcome for an associated sixth form with Manor CE Academy, All Saints is actively engaged with the diocese of Middlesbrough and the City of York LA to find a new single campus within reasonable travelling distance of York’s transport hubs. A significant amount of money each year (estimated to be £300,000) has to be allocated to maintain a split campus. To this end, All Saints and the diocese of Middlesbrough are actively looking to purchase a new site and to approach the Department for Education for additional funding for a new home.
If the plans go ahead it would be envisaged that the new campus would have accommodation for upwards of 450 sixth formers. To enable the consultation to go ahead, both schools have allocated funding for the consultation process and to produce a bid document. The work is being carried out by members of both schools’ senior leadership teams.
Will it be Manor staff teaching post 16 at Manor and All Saints staff teaching post 16 at All Saints, or will they interchange?
There will be opportunities for Manor and All Saints staff to teach on both campuses. However this will develop over time and we are envisaging a five to seven year programme to fully establish joint working.
Can you guarantee that the first year of this venture, if it goes ahead, will not be adversely affected by potential teething problems?
In reality, many of the students, especially those from All Saints, will see little change in the day-to-day operation of the sixth form. We believe that the model being developed is evolutionary change in an existing high performing sixth form provision. The changes will be thought through and always made with the best interests of the students in mind.
Assuming the proposal goes ahead and works well, would an All Saints student ever be turned away from the associated sixth form?
If a student from All Saints or Manor gains the entry qualifications to undertake the appropriate post-16 provision they would not be turned away from the associated sixth form.
Are there plans to consult students?
This is already taking place and the results of this consultation will be published, along with the general consultation, on both schools’ websites.
How would it work in relation to Ofsted? Would there be three separate inspections – one for Manor 11-16, All Saints 11-16 plus the associated sixth form?
We are anticipating that the two institutions with their associated sixth form provision will be inspected at the same time. Two reports will be written and the sixth form section of both reports will be identical. It is clearly our aim to have both institutions and therefore the joint sixth form, rated as outstanding.
With this move, is All Saints moving slightly away from its Catholicity? How will Catholicity be maintained?
See above answer regarding maintaining the distinctiveness of the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. As Pope Francis said on 28 January this year, “Let us pray for Christian unity. There are so many beautiful things which unite us.” Catholicity includes a passion for Christian unity.
You say the head of Year 11 at Manor will be part of the associated sixth form’s pastoral team – would there be the same support the other way round, for All Saints students on the Manor campus?
It is our vision that the Manor pastoral team will continue their responsibilities beyond Year 11, visiting the All Saints campus and engaging with the needs of Manor students. It would, therefore, be appropriate for the same arrangements to be in place for All Saints students.
Why do this now – with the expected huge housing development on the former British Sugar site, surely then there will be more than enough demand for Manor to have its own sixth form. If Manor is prepared to wait, won’t it logically just happen anyway? And a one site solution would solve the split-site, transport issue?
The additional number of students likely to emerge from the expected new housing on the former British Sugar site, while potentially bringing some funding for the expansion of the 11-16 provision on Millfield Lane, would not necessarily bring the estimated £6-7m needed to build an independent sixth form accommodation. By waiting, “just in case”, you would need to postpone planning for post-16 provision for Manor for another five to seven years. This means another generation of young people going through the academy with no possibility of a Manor sixth form. We believe now is the right time to act. We have been debating this issue for over ten years and All Saints have described applying for an associated sixth form now as a “golden window of opportunity”.
Can you name some examples of associated sixth forms that have not worked out?
It is inappropriate for us to comment on other associated sixth forms that have not worked out. We know of examples of community schools trying to work together in rural areas based on common timetabling. These associations have faltered on issues regarding transport between sites and funding allocations. The plans that we have do not involve large numbers of students moving throughout the day and all post-16 funding from both institutions will go into one, ring-fenced, pot.
If anything, the opposite is true of the three nearest church school examples we have been talking to – associated sixth forms that have worked out. They work because there is a total commitment by both governing bodies to the venture and as one former headteacher said, it would be “suicide” for either school to withdraw or begin to compete, such is the immense benefit for both schools.