Redcar and Cleveland Council is today celebrating the go-ahead for creating a sixth form with two brand new centres to be built at Nunthorpe and Eston.
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator has approved the proposal for post 16 education for Eston Park School, Gillbrook College and Nunthorpe, with a September 1, 2008 implementation date.
The adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore organised a public meeting at the City Learning Centre last month to debate the issue with parents, school representatives, governors and representatives from further education providers.
Now, in her judgement, Dr Passmore said: "The increased choice in provision, the convenience of location that the additional sixth forms would provide and the development of the 14-19 centre would be of such benefit to pupils that this outweighed any possible disadvantages."
The Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: "We were quietly confident that we would get a positive result after all the support from staff and parents at the public meeting.
"I would like to thank all the staff at the schools and the Children Services' Department for all the effort they have put in to winning our case. We look forward to becoming an authority providing post 16 education in collaboration with the schools involved, colleges and the Learning and Skills Council."
The proposed collaborative 14-19 centre, split between Nunthorpe and Eston, will provide approximately 550 places. The Council has made a £9.6million bid to the Learning and Skills Council, which has been given approval 'in principle' by the LSC's National Committee, based on a commitment to work in partnership with existing further education providers, Prior Pursglove College and Redcar and Cleveland College as well as work-based trainers.
Councillor Kay added: "Our proposed centre is completely in line with Government thinking. It will not be an elitist institution but will provide vocational as well as academic education."