THE Isle’s very first sixth form unit is to be built - at Epworth’s South Axholme Academy.
A million pounds in funding for schools, including half that sum for the sixth form facility was approved for the next year by North Lincolnshire Council.
However, there are are several more hurdles which must be overcome before the scheme can actually take shape.
Chair of Governors for six years at South Axholme Academy, Paul Barratt, said: “This project has been looked at seriously for 18 months, and is very much a response to demand from both parents and students.
“I am as confident as I can be that this will come to fruition.”
The unit will start as a “small cohort” added Mr Barratt, and will offer traditional academic subjects in the main.
A head of sixth form would of course need to be appointed, with further teaching staff in due course.
The launch would be expected in September of next year.
“It will be a great thing ... a boost for Epworth and for education in the area generally,” said Mr Barratt.
The sixth form building is planned as one between two existing blocks, to make it an integral part of the school itself and to deliver benefits for all pupils.
South Axholme Academy recently celebrated a glowing Ofsted report that upgraded it from satisfactory to good in all areas.
Headteacher Marie Lister said financial constraints were a block to further improvements, as cash spent on maintaining an old building could not then be used on necessary academic equipment.
It is thought the new sixth form would have an initial intake of about 60 pupils.
Andrew Percy MP said: “It is fantastic news that North Lincolnshire Council has found the finances to support the creation of a new Sixth Form for the Isle.
“Praise must go to Coun Liz Redfern, who has worked hard on this issue. I have personally made strong representation to the Minister in support of the application and I look forward to seeing the new Sixth Form open.”