College demise met by anguish

Sixth form students at Baines High School Poulton
Sixth form students at Baines High School Poulton
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Councillors on a Wyre ward where a sixth form college could be facing closure have blamed its demise on falling student numbers and rival facilities.

Baines School in Poulton launched a consultation into the possible closure of its sixth form this week due to ongoing financial troubles.

Hardhorn councillor Barry Birch MBE, who was once a governor at Baines School, said: “It’s very sad news for a school like Baines, which dates back to the 1700s.

“I thought the school had turned itself around, but of course there is the very attractive offer from Blackpool Sixth Form on Blackpol Old Road.

“I feel that, as a smaller college, Baines doesn’t have that offer.

“Over the last maybe two years people that would normally have gone to Baines have looked at the offer from the Blackpool Old Road site, and I think Baines has suffered from that.

“It will be a very sad day if the powers that be say the sixth form does need to be closed. But I’m sure Baines as a school will continue to flourish.

“I think it is a great school in a very popular area, and it will continue to be a great school in the years to come.”

Fellow councillor Roger Berry said: “Over the years, Baines school has acquired an excellent reputation for the education of our young students.

“It appears, from the statement from the school, due to falling numbers it is no longer viable to continue with the sixth form, and this will leave them to focus on the 11 to 16 age groups.Obviously it’s sad news but I think it’s fair to say children require a broader range of courses and the facilities that go with them, and this inevitably leads to the need for larger sixth forms.”