Birkenhead Sixth Form College wins the award for sixth-form college of the year

Birkenhead Sixth Form College impressed the judges with their student mentoring scheme, an academic writing programme, and their BePART programme which helps students to improve resilience

Tes Reporter

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The judges were captivated by Birkenhead Sixth Form College’s journey of transformation. In 2009, it was rated grade 3 by Ofsted. The college also had fewer than 20 per cent of students obtaining high grades, and, according to its awards submission, was “well into the bottom quartile on all value-added systems and had a mediocre progression profile”.

Fast-forward to January 2017, and the college on the Wirral was rated “outstanding” by the inspectorate. Now 45 per cent of A-level candidates are obtaining high grades, and it sends nearly a quarter of its students to Russell Group universities. 

This improvement has not been down to a change in the college’s intake. The improvements have been the result of fundamental changes to every aspect of how the college works, realised through hard work and a common commitment to the values of positivity, ambition, resilience and thoughtfulness.

Birkenhead has also put a strong focus on innovation, with examples including: the student mentoring scheme, endorsed by Liverpool John Moores University and now an accredited module; the BePART programme, proven by independent research to help those students who are struggling to improve their positivity and resilience; and an academic writing programme.

While on its improvement journey, the college has also set up its own multi-academy trust (MAT), and now sponsors a local school.

The judges said: “In a relatively short time, Birkenhead Sixth Form College has improved from a grade 3 to a grade 1, but it has not stopped there. Staff have created and led a MAT, which is defining achievement in the area. This award is deserved recognition.”

To see the full list of winners please click here, or follow all the glitz and glamour of the night with the #TesFEawards

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