The proposal is for King Edward VI College, Stourbridge to construct a new teaching block and increase capacity to 2600 students.
King Edward VI College has been a part of the Heart of Mercia Multi Academy Trust since 2021. We are currently partnered with Hereford Sixth Form College and Worcester Sixth Form College.
King Edward’s was granted a charter in 1552 and it was more recently a boys grammar school before converting into a coeducational sixth form college in 1976 for around 600 students. Since then, the college has grown in popularity and our current student population stands at just under 2400 with around 200 staff. We are a major contributor to the local economy and a significant employer within the area. As we continue to grow, we now need to officially raise our capacity and increase our classroom accommodation to meet demand.
1. Why is it necessary to hold a consultation?
Under Department for Education ‘Making significant changes to an open academy’ guidance; Multi-Academy Trusts such as the Heart of Mercia Multi Academy trust must consult with their community when proposing to make significant changes to the operation of an open Academy.
Constructing a new teaching block and increasing our capacity by 200 students is classed as a significant change. The new teaching block will house 13 energy efficient classrooms for the delivery of A level classes. The block is already at an advanced stage of design and has received planning consent from Dudley MBC. We are now awaiting confirmation of funding from the Department of Education to move ahead with construction. Feedback from this consultation will help inform the Department of Education’s decision about whether to grant funding for the project.
King Edward VI College also wishes to listen to the views of its stakeholders, identify concerns raised by this proposal and mitigate them where possible.
2. Why does King Edward VI College need to construct a new teaching block and increase its capacity?
In the last year alone, the college has increased in size from 2290 to 2400 students. The college is an incredibly popular option as the only sixth form college in the Black Country. We recruit students from 90 minutes travelling time in all directions from areas such as Birmingham, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Wolverhampton, as well as the local boroughs of Dudley and Sandwell. We are a specialist A level provider and every year support over 1000 young people to move on to employment, apprenticeships and higher education at many of the UK’s top employers and universities. We are committed to continuing this success within the local area.
In addition, there is a demographic bulge on the horizon. The number of 16–19 year old students is predicted to rise by 7-10% in surrounding areas over the next 4-5 years. In recognition of this, the Department for Education has made available grants to help colleges such as ours to cope with the projected rise in student numbers.
3. What are the current arrangements?
All students are currently educated on the campus located in Stourbridge town centre. Most students have around 20 hours of contact time at college each week and so although the college has 2400 students, only around 1500 students are on site at any one time. This is because we are limited by the number of classrooms available.
4. Why is it not possible to remain as we are?
Our application numbers have risen steeply in the last few years, and we now routinely receive around 3000 applications from students wishing to enter the college. We could manage our intake downwards by raising our entry requirements, but this is not what we want to do. We would prefer to support as many students as possible from the local area who have the ability and determination to study A level courses with us. We also know that there are more students who will be applying to us as the local population grows. To this end, we believe we can maintain very high standards of academic learning and progression opportunities for those students with appropriate GCSE qualifications even if we recruit a further 200 students. To do this, we will need additional teaching spaces.
5. Who will pay for the additional accommodation?
The total cost of the building project is £4.0-4.5 million. Around £3.5 million will be provided by the Department of Education while the remainder will be covered by college and MAT resources.
6. How can I take part in the consultation?
Please refer to the online consultation questionnaire below to contribute your views. In addition, we will be holding a public meeting at college at 4.00 pm on Tuesday 17 January 2023. Please note, parking is only available for blue badge holders. Please provide prior notice via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
7. What are the next steps?
This consultation will last for 4 college term time weeks and close on Tuesday 24 January 2023.
The Trust will then collate, analyse, and consider responses, mitigate concerns where feasible and apply to the Regional Schools Commissioner for approval.
8. How can I find out about the outcome of the application to the Regional Schools Commissioner?
Please continue to refer to our website for an update.
A report summarising the consultation process and its findings will be added to the website once it has been approved by the Heart of Mercia Multi Academy Trust board.