New College Pontefract is one of the most successful non-selective sixth-form colleges in the country. According to the judges, it is “doing a truly extraordinary job”.
Since 2014, enrolments have increased by 20 per cent, from 2,100 a year to 2,500. It was one of the first sixth-form colleges to convert to academy status. This allowed it to establish a multi-academy trust containing two new free-school “sibling” colleges: one in Doncaster, which opened in 2017, and one in Bradford, which opened two years later.
The college’s own headline data has continued to improve. In 2018-19, it achieved an A-level performance system grade 2 in both A-level and applied general provision, recording a 100 per cent pass rate in both. The college also achieved its best-ever high-grade rates: 60 per cent at A level and 90 per cent in applied general courses.
But it’s not all about exam results. New College Pontefract places a great deal of emphasis on employability training and skills, progression to higher education and a wide range of extracurricular and supercurricular activities. These include more than 200 trips and events over the
course of the academic year, ensuring that students are given a broad educational experience that goes beyond the classroom.
The judges said: “The college is making a real difference to young people across three communities both in and outside of the classroom. It has
a broad intake of students, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is showing others what it means to be a sixth form in modern times.”