The sixth form opened in September 2006 as part of the first wave of a nationwide 10-15 year programme of capital investment funded by the Department for Education and Skills called Building Schools for the Future. . For the first two years of its existence, under the temporary name of Burnley Schools' Sixth Form, it occupied the site of the former Barden High School, before moving into new buildings in September 2008 on an adjacent site. It is named after Thomas Whitham VC who served during World War I. It was judged good with outstanding features in a 2011 Ofsted inspection.