AN independent school in the Bradford district has lodged plans to build a new “state of the art” sixth form centre in its grounds.

Woodhouse Grove School, in Apperley Bridge, says the current provision needs to be updated to reflect its new approach to post-16 education.

Headmaster James Lockwood told the Telegraph & Argus that pre-pandemic, the school identified the traditional sixth form model was no longer enough to prepare students for the world of work.

He said: “We acknowledged that a good set of A levels or a university degree no longer guarantee a seamless and successful entry into the workplace. Employers are seeking much more - industry experience, outside the box thinking, something that differentiates you from the rest.”

The school’s sixth form was re-modelled to become The Sixth Form at The Grove to offer students different pathways based on their aspirations.

Those who want to go to university can take their A levels or EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), with guidance from a personal mentor and an Oxbridge Preparation Programme.

Mr Lockwood added: “Pupils wishing to leave school and head directly into the workplace are given 60 days’ work experience, organised around their schoolwork, with a Grove Business Partner – one of a number of different local companies from a broad range of industry sectors that the school has partnered with.”

He said apprenticeships are becoming “increasingly popular and increasingly competitive” and the school also accommodates this. Pupils can take a mix of A levels and BTEC qualifications, along with 45 days work experience with a Grove Business Partner.

“Once pandemic restrictions finished and our Pathway System was up and running in its entirety, it became apparent that our current Sixth Form provision – comprising a common room, study areas and a café – required updating to better suit our new offering,” said Mr Lockwood.

“We have therefore put in planning permission to utilise a currently unused area of the school to build a brand new, state of the art Sixth Form facility that will meet the needs of all our pupils, whatever pathway they are on.

“The new facility will include more seminar rooms for use when our Business Partners deliver career talks, increased space for individual and collaborative work and integrated technology for the live streaming of topical issues – and, of course, the now ubiquitous Zoom calls.

“Elements of the space will have a much more corporate feel – preparing our students for life after Woodhouse Grove.”