Casterton sixth form will ‘solve Stamford issue’

Casterton Business and Enterprise College principal Carl Smith. Photo: Alan Walters MSMP-06-07-15-aw002 EMN-150707-152200001
Casterton Business and Enterprise College principal Carl Smith. Photo: Alan Walters MSMP-06-07-15-aw002 EMN-150707-152200001
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A principal wants to move his sixth form out of Oakham to offer a “permanent solution” to the problem of post-16 education in Stamford.

Casterton Business and Enterprise College principal Carl Smith hopes to relocate his school’s sixth form, currently run as Rutland County College, from Oakham to Great Casterton by 2017.

The move would bring all the schools’ pupils from ages 11 to 18 onto the same site, which would be renamed Casterton College, Rutland.

Mr Smith promised “virtually a new school” when he took over from Victoria Crosher in April. He has launched a consultation on the plans and has asked pupils, parents and staff to vote on the move.

He said: “This reflects the fact that 70 per cent of our cohort actually live in Stamford. We think we have a responsibility to serve their needs as well as people on the other side of the county.

“We are quite excited. We would hope that the people of Stamford and eastern Rutland will also be excited and feel it is a good opportunity.”

No Stamford school has offered a full A-level state education since the abolition of the Stamford Endowed Schools scholarship scheme in 2012, although A-levels can be studied at New College Stamford. Stamford Welland Academy principal Anthony Partington has made his desire for a sixth form clear, but pupil numbers at the school are not yet high enough to make it viable.

Mr Smith believes a sixth form at Casterton would cater for the needs of all Stamford pupils. He said: “The accommodation we will have here will easily meet the needs of our pupils in Stamford and eastern Rutland. This is the capacity that is needed.

“There has been disquiet about sixth form education in Rutland and Stamford over the last 10 years. It has been a bone of contention.

“We like to think that this will finally bring that contention to an end. This is potentially a great permanent solution for the people of Stamford and 
Rutland.”

Rutland County College is currently the only state-run sixth form in the county. But this will change in September when Harington School opens.

“The appearance of Harington has given us the chance to do this,” said Mr Smith.

“We couldn’t have done it if Harington wasn’t in Oakham. It would have been unfair to take the sixth form provision away from Oakham if there was no other sixth form there.”

Mr Smith said the sixth form at Casterton would be academic, adding: “New College Stamford does a great job with the vocational qualifications. This is an offer that will give pupils the chance to access the Russell Group programme and have the proper A-level education that they have been crying out for for years.”

The consultation will run until September 23. Visit www.castertoncollege.com.