Education cuts make some A-levels ‘unviable’ in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade

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Cuts to education funding have dashed the hopes of some students in LBO land to study the subjects they want, it has been revealed.

Last week, Cedars Upper School wrote to parents saying that it was axing French and German A Level courses this year due to limited uptake, making them “unviable”.

One parent complained that this was “adding to the stress” of pupils about to take their GCSEs, who were having to look elsewhere to study their chosen course.

She said: “Bearing in mind, this is also after the deadline for most sixth form applications has passed.

“I do not blame the school, it is government funding. Apparently more deprived areas get more money.

“We, perhaps naively, had no idea this could happen. My child didn’t apply anywhere else as we were keen to stay on at Cedars.”

Cedars Upper School headteacher Steve Palmer said he suspected it was an issue affecting all upper schools.

He said: “Until all applicants for our sixth form have been interviewed we are not sure how many potential students each subject would have. This includes the many students from other schools that have applied to Cedars.

“Once we know this we can then make a judgement on whether a subject can run. There is no set number of students for a course to run but if only two or three students select a course then it is very difficult for any school to allow it to run.

“We have had to make a similar decision regarding Philosophy and Ethics, and Fashion.”

Tim Carroll, headteacher at Vandyke Upper School, said: “While school funding is 8% down since 2010, cuts to sixth form funding have been the deepest.

“This affects the ability of schools to offer a full range of A Level courses. Where take-up for a particular subject is low it may not be viable to run that course financially and very small classes also do not provide the stimulating learning environment we would wish for students.

“Vandyke and Cedars do try to work together to broaden the range of subjects available across the town and every year a small number of students transfer from one to the other to match subject choice. A Level French is available to students in the town because it is offered at Vandyke.”

The A Level subjects currently available at each school are as follows:

CEDARS UPPER SCHOOL

Art, Biology, Business Studies, Business BTEC, Chemistry, Computer Science, Digital Media, Drama, Economics, English Language, English Literature, Film Studies, Financial Studies, Further Maths, Geography, Health and Social Care, History, Maths, Music, PE, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish

VANDYKE UPPER SCHOOL

Art, Biology, Business Studies, Certificate of Financial Studies, Chemistry, Child’s Play, Learning and Development, Commercial Music, Drama, English Combined, English Language, English Literature, EPQ – Expended Project Qualification, French, Geography, Health and Social Care, History, IT, Law, Mathematics, Media Studies, Philosophy, Photography, Physics, Produce Design, Psychology, BTEC Sport Certificate, BTEC Sport Diploma, Travel and Tourism

The Cottesloe School in Wing declined to comment. Headteacher Simon Jones said the school is still formulating its A Level subjects in September.