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Bishop Laney Sixth Form

Sixth Form Capacity Consultation

Bishop Laney Sixth Form (Ely College) – Capacity Increase Consultation

Ely College sixth form (Bishop Laney Sixth Form) is the only sixth form provider in East Cambridgeshire. Judged to be ‘Good’ by OFSTED in 2019, it is a popular and growing local school sixth form offering a blend of Level 2 and Level 3 courses including A levels and a suite of vocational/technical qualifications (VTQS). It currently has a fixed pupil admission number each year of 150, making a total capacity of 300 students across years 12 and 13.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s 2020 population forecasts indicate that there will be a 28% increase in 17- and 18-year-olds residing in East Cambridgeshire between 2022-28, and a 27% increase across the Greater Cambridgeshire planning area. The neighbouring districts of Fenland and Cambridge city also show similarly steady growth patterns across the same period.

Bishop Laney Sixth Form (Ely College) has grown from 77 students in 2017, to 237 in 2022 (an increase of over 300%). Future forecasts indicate that an increase in the Year 12 capacity from 150 to 200 is required to meet the expected demand and demographic growth in the district over the next decade.

If the current patterns of application from both Ely College and neighbouring local schools are maintained, we will exceed our existing capacity in 2025 (see graph below), and so we are applying for permission from the Department for Education to increase our pupil admission number to 200 each year (a total capacity of 400 students). This would increase the overall school capacity of Ely College from 1650 to 1750 students by September 2024. As part of this application, we have submitted a bid for capital funds to allow us to renovate and upgrade parts of our existing site to accommodate this increase in student numbers. Our current site on Downham Road in Ely has ample space and capacity to accommodate this increase but planning permission would obviously be sought, and more detailed plans shared prior to any significant site works being undertaken.

As part of this application, we are seeking you views as stakeholders on increasing the capacity of the sixth form. We view this modest increase in our capacity as the most cost-effective way of increasing the number of high-quality sixth form places available in the area and hope that you will lend your support to our application.

If you have any comments, concerns or messages of support, please can you submit them to the following email address by 5pm on Wednesday 25th January 2023: 

Yours faithfully
Richard Spencer
Executive Principal


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