Students hoping to attend a Bury St Edmunds sixth form in September have been told admissions are being paused due to a lack of applicants. 

Sally Kennedy, headteacher at County High School, sent an email to parents and carers of Year 11 students on Wednesday which said that for the third year in a row the school had not been able to attract enough students to make it viable. 

In the email to parents, she said: "This year we set ourselves a target number of students to enrol for September 2023 which would have marked a stepping stone towards viability."

Bury Mercury:

"We are now in the position to recognise that we have fallen short of this target number," she added.

Year 12 students will continue to study at County High School, which has pledged a full and fully staffed timetable, while individual consultations will begin this week for every Year 11 student who chose the sixth form as their first choice.

County High School will now link up with Abbeygate Sixth Form and West Suffolk College as part of Bury Schools Partnership, which the school joined in 2022. 

Ms Kennedy added: “We are excited to be announcing a stronger partnership with Abbeygate Sixth Form and West Suffolk College to offer an even greater post-16 experience to our students.

“Unfortunately, our own sixth form numbers have been dwindling in recent years and it has come to a point where we had to decide what was the best solution for our students going forward.

“We had 17 students in Year 12 this year and despite the great work by staff, just 42 have signed up for Year 12 in September.

“So we have made the decision to support all our current Year 11 students to find the right place for each of them.”

Nikos Savvas, principal and CEO of Eastern Colleges Group, which includes Abbeygate Sixth Form, said: “We are delighted to see the Bury Schools Partnership go from strength to strength and are looking forward to working with County High School and other partners to support all students.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the region. At a time that leadership, and genuine collaboration is needed at all levels, it is heartening to see the best education providers come together for the benefit of the community we all serve.

“We are creating a coherent, outstanding education from birth to post retirement, supporting each other and all our students no matter which school or college they go to.

“After securing an Ofsted outstanding grade this week, Abbeygate and West Suffolk College are very well placed to serve current and future students, ensuring they all reach their full potential.

“We also want to reassure current and future students, parents, and guardians, that we are fully committed to supporting the transition of students from County High School to Abbeygate and West Suffolk College.”