Mass walkout as students protest New Mills Sixth Form closure

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Students abandoned their studies and made their voices heard in a bid to save New Mills Sixth Form from closing.

The teenagers orchestrated the walk-out to show their anger at the decision, and more than 40 students left their lessons, including some in the high school who would impacted by any future closure.

Anna Bagnall is joined by fellow sixth formers during the walkout.

Anna Bagnall is joined by fellow sixth formers during the walkout.

Sixth form student Anna Bagnall said: “I feel we are not being listened to, so we wanted to show the council and governors that this sixth form is important and people don’t want it to close.”

New Mills Sixth Form currently has 87 students − years 12 and 13 combined. The Department for Education has issued guidance that new sixth forms should not be approved unless they can expect to attract at least 200 students.

School governors at New Mills want the sixth form closed as the school has a budget deficit of £240,000 and feel the provision is not economically sound.

After announcing its intention to close the post-16 education facility, parents and students were consulted by Derbyshire County Council, and a final four-week consultation is currently taking place ahead of any final decision.

Students in a walkout protest against the possible closure of New Mills School's sixth form.

Students in a walkout protest against the possible closure of New Mills School's sixth form.

Anna said: “The next step is to take our protest to the council offices and make sure as many people hear that we don’t want to lose the sixth form.”

If the closure goes ahead, it will mean there will be no new intake of students in September 2017. Once the current lower sixth form students have taken their A-levels, it would close for good in August 2018.

Student Billy Lancaster said: “I think the school and the council are not doing anything to help the sixth form, so it will be easier to close. It is a really big part of the town, the community and provides education to so many.”

Anna Bagnall is joined by fellow sixth formers during the walkout.

Anna Bagnall is joined by fellow sixth formers during the walkout.