Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School is to close its sixth form, it was announced this week.

In a letter home, the school informed parents it would not be accepting post-16 students from September next year.

Instead, older pupils will need to travel to King’s Lynn to continue their studies.

“Gutted” parents soon took to social media to give their reaction to the loss of the facility, which has been blamed on budget cuts.

The school is set to become an academy on December 1 after its application to join the West Norfolk Academies Trust (WNA) was successful earlier this year.

In a letter to parents,  headteacher Paul Marsh said the trust was to have a centralised sixth form at Springwood High School in Lynn.

“Those Year 12 and Year 13 students currently in Smithdon High School sixth form will complete their studies at Smithdon,” writes Mr Marsh.

“But, under the trust there will be no future post-16 students on this site.”

The letter, issued Monday, goes on explain that cut-backs had impacted on further education provision.

It continues: “The consolidation  into one site comes in the face of forecasts of further education spending cuts, where sixth form funding has already suffered real-terms funding cuts of around 14 per cent between 2010 and 2015.”

In the current sixth form prospectus, Mr Marsh describes the facility as “small, thriving and successful” and its small teaching groups are highlighted.

“Students who have progressed through Smithdon High School find the transition to sixth form life quite comfortable, as the staff and facilities are familiar,” the prospectus says.

As well as Springwood and Smithdon, the new sixth form hub is to serve St Clement’s High School in Terrington St Clement and Marshland High School in West Walton, two other members of WNA Trust.

Commenting on Facebook, one parent said they were “gutted” by the news, while others praised the school and raised concerns about class sizes at the proposed sixth form hub.

Parents were due to attend an open evening yesterday to find out what the changes mean for children wishing to attend sixth form.