BRADFORD Girls' Grammar School has announced a consultation on the future of its sixth form provision, saying it is no longer "financially viable" to keep it running.

The school, on Squire Lane, Girlington, says the proposal has come about in the face of two new purpose-built sixth form colleges opening in the city centre.

If the plan is approved, the school would no longer admit sixth form students from September 2020.

Current sixth form students will complete their courses by the summer of 2021.

Back in 2016, a Bradford Council-led review into sixth form education across the district revealed major changes needed to be made to improve standards.

It found the district had too many smaller sixth forms based in schools and called for them to be replaced with fewer, larger sixth form colleges to try to turn round poor performance, improve choice and put schools on a sound financial footing.

Three years down the line, it's a vision which is coming to fruition with the opening of the £19 million New College, on Nelson Street, and the Dixons Sixth Form Academy, off Manchester Road.

A number of secondary schools across the district have closed, or announced the closure, of their sixth forms.

Helen Roberts, BGGS Chair of Governors, said: "As a school with a very small sixth form, we cannot compete with these new larger colleges who are able to offer a much wider range of courses, along with modern purpose-built facilities.

"In addition, with Government funding levels for post-16 provision continuing to decline, the Governors have concluded that it is no longer financially viable to maintain a sixth form. Instead, we feel it is clearly in the best interest of all our pupils, that the school builds on its strength of providing an exceptional educational experience for children from Reception to Year 11, and continues to deliver outstanding Key Stage 4 results."

A document produced as part of the consultation says the Department for Education says sixth forms with fewer than 250 students are not financially viable.

"Historically, BGGS has never reached those numbers, the highest being in the 2015/16 Academic Year with 135 students," it says.

"In fact, it has never exceeded more than 85 per cent of its 160 capacity since becoming a free school in 2013."

It adds: "This year, a total of 153 applications were received for September 2019 entry into Year 12, which in previous years has been around the 200 mark. It was particularly noticeable that most students applying for BGGS had also applied to the New College.

"For the majority of applicants BGGS Sixth Form was not their first choice. An analysis of this year’s Year 11 leavers revealed that the majority of students who would have met our sixth form entry requirements, have chosen to go to New College Bradford."

The consultation, which began on Monday, will run until Monday, December 2. A public meeting will be held at the school tomorrow from 6.30pm until 8pm to give people an opportunity to ask questions and hear more about the proposal.