What is a 6th Form College

What is a 6th Form College?

There are 93 Sixth Form Colleges in England which offer an extensive range of courses, both academic and vocational, and provide specialised pastoral and guidance care for the 16-18 age group.

Sixth Form Colleges are experts in 16-18 education and act as a valuable stepping stone between the worlds of compulsory education, and higher education and employment. A Sixth Form College timetable can accommodate virtually all combinations of student choices and the curriculum offer is reviewed on a regular basis.

Most Sixth Form Colleges specialise in providing A-levels but many also offer a limited range of level 3 vocational qualifications. If you look at national A-level league tables for non-selective schools and colleges you will see just how successful Sixth Form Colleges are.

To be a Sixth Form College is to be part of an elite, but not elitist group. On a range of measures Sixth Form Colleges outperform all other types of 16-18 provider.

A 2011 report by the National Audit Office concluded that Sixth Form Colleges

“perform best on most measures of learner achievement”.

The report showed that:

  • Learners in Sixth Form Colleges recorded higher attainment in level 3 courses than those in school and academy sixth forms or general further education colleges;
  • According to the value added score (which measures the progress that learners make relative to their prior educational attainment), 58% of Sixth Form Colleges added more value than expected, compared to 29% of general further education colleges and 16% of school and academy sixth forms. Cirencester College is one of the top SFCs for Value Added;
  • At qualification levels 1 through to 3, Sixth Form Colleges had higher success rates than general further education colleges (84% compared to 78%). A significant minority of Sixth Form Colleges also deliver highly successful provision for adults, and increasing numbers of Sixth Form Colleges are starting to deliver higher education courses. 

Further details are available on the Sixth Form Colleges website