A COUNCIL education chief has investigated the reasons behind the closure of Culcheth High School’s Sixth Form following accusations made by a Labour colleague that officers had colluded on the issue.

Clr Hitest Patel, who was appointed as the portfolio holder for children and young people in March following the resignation of Clr Colin Froggatt (Poulton South - LAB), held a meeting on Friday with council officers to discuss the comments.

Clr Chris Vobe (Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft - LAB) accused council officers of ‘colluding’ over ways to build support for the closure of the sixth form.

Clr Patel said: "I have found no evidence of a conspiracy or of collusion by officers of the council. I do believe their comments were taken out of context because I have seen how hard they work for the good of young people of this town."

He added that increased competition from other schools and colleges and a decrease in funding for post-16 education has seen the sixth form struggle to enrol and retain students.

“Whilst the council can refuse Culcheth High School permission to close down the sixth form college it has no powers to say how to run it, how many students to enrol or how many courses should be offered,” said Clr Patel.

“Unless there are compelling reasons, I do wonder just how many letters of complaint we would get from angry parents of 11 to 16 year olds if we tried to force the governors to take funding earmarked for GCSE students’ education to fund a handful of A-level students.”