East Riding Council accused of backing brain drain
A TEACHING union leader is accusing East Riding Council of supporting the brain drain of students to sixth-form colleges in Hull, putting school teachers' jobs at risk.
NUT branch spokesman Ian Richardson said East Riding schools miss out on thousands of pounds of funding per head for every sixth-former crossing the border to Hull.
He warned shrinking rolls in East Riding sixth-forms could put teachers' jobs at risk.
Mr Richardson claimed the council was lending its name to the recruitment drive by allowing its logo to appear on A-board adverts on East Riding roundabouts, promoting Wyke Sixth Form College in Hull.
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He said: "We have an issue with the East Riding Council logo appearing on an advert promoting a Hull sixth-form college.
"East Riding Council should not be allowing its corporate logo to be associated with a rival organisation that is taking students away from East Riding schools."
Mr Richardson said the council should be more proactive in retaining pupils in East Riding schools.
He said: "One of the our issues is we are facing is redundancies because of declining sixth-form rolls.
"Now, the authority is being complicit in allowing an institution from a rival area to recruit our kids."
Mr Richardson also claimed the council is not making enough effort to keep post-16 pupils from Market Weighton and Howden in local authority schools, where he said sixth-form provision is being withdrawn at the two town secondaries.
He said post-16 pupils from the two towns are attending academies, which are outside of local authority control, or institutions in other areas, such as Selby.
Mr Richardson said: "Officers representing this authority need to reflect very carefully as to whether they are serving the best interests of the parents and children of the East Riding who, on the whole, support the principle of local education provided through elected councillors."
East Riding Council's director of children, family and adult services Alison Michalska said the authority aims to ensure students get the best education, wherever they choose to study.
She said: "All schools and post-16 establishments have to be financially viable to operate and East Riding Council does work closely with other organisations to ensure East Riding students get the very best education wherever they choose to study.
"Some will choose to stay in the East Riding and attend school sixth-forms, East Riding College or Bishop Burton College, or they may decide to travel to Scunthorpe, York or Hull to take advantage of the facilities at places such as Wyke and Wilberforce sixth- form colleges.
"The demand for sixth-form provision in Market Weigh- ton and Howden was so low as students had chosen to take up post-16 provision elsewhere that neither sixth-form was sustainable."
The council gains income from adverts, such as boards promoting Wyke College, which are placed on its roundabouts.
But it insists this in not an endorsement of a particular organisation or brand.
John Skidmore, head of streetscene services, said: "A number of the council's roundabouts across the East Riding are sponsored by a range of businesses and organisations.
"The sponsorship of roundabouts generates income for the authority and the signage is developed in-house to an agreed design and installed in compliance with national traffic regulations.
"The sponsorship of a roundabout is not an endorsement by the council of a particular brand, business or organisation."
'Students have to come first'
Jay Trivedy, principal of Wyke College in Hull, said students had to come first.
Mr Trivedy said: "Fundamentally, we are educationalists and we think students must come first.
"It's not about jobs, it's about options for students.
"We are quite a large, successful organisation and we have always advertised in Hull and the East Riding.
"About half of our students come from outside Hull.
"The funding of post-16 is becoming more and more stringent in terms of having sufficient income to offer a range of courses.
"I believe many schools are feeling the pinch.
"Their sixth forms are relatively small and they struggle to give enough choice to students.
"We think the schools have closed ranks. They are trying to retain their students and it is often not in the interests of the students."