28 August 2019

Record numbers have enrolled at the Birkenhead Sixth Form College for the new academic year, meaning that the area’s largest sixth form is full and unable to meet further demand for places from more new students.

The College has been enrolling our new students on their bespoke A Level and BTEC courses all week, and with numbers now adding up to more than four times the size of the next biggest sixth form in the region, we are at maximum capacity.

Despite closing applications officially on 1st April this year, subsequent applicants were placed on a waiting list, and with the College full, the 100+ students on the list will now have to be left disappointed.

It is the sixth year in a row that the College has seen a growth in numbers, and last year saw us win ‘UK Sixth Form College of the Year’ at the TES Awards, which are considered to be the ‘Oscars of Education’.

From an early stage, forecasts showed that another surge in recruitment figures was predicted for the September 2019 cohort, and the College made plans to build new classrooms on site to deal with rising numbers and offer more chances to achieve success to students who would otherwise be lost in the system.

A bid for funding was submitted and external experts considered it as one of the strongest bids they had seen, quoting the College as an ‘engine of social mobility’ and a positive force for the community as a whole, though the bid was blocked at governmental level.

Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Mike Kilbride, said: “Although this is an enviable position to be in and it reflects the excellent education that the College offers to all of its young people, it is extremely saddening to have to turn away so many potential new students.

“We have all the teaching and support infrastructure in place to deal with growing demand and still be able to give each individual a bespoke choice of subjects and personal service and support – we simply do not have the space on our campus.”

Mike explained: “We are very proud of our students achievements, and this year’s A Level and BTEC results were once again superb with over 50% high grades, but what’s most pleasing is the additional value we give to students’ attainment from whatever level they start, which has been in the top 10% in the country for the last five years running.”

The College’s ethos and commitment to social mobility has been recognised by further prestigious national awards, including from the Sixth Form Colleges Association and the Association of Colleges Beacon Awards.

Mike concluded: “Although we are sorry for those unable to join us, we look forward to welcoming both new and returning students back to the College next week for another exciting and challenging year. Let’s get back to what we do best, which is believing that purposeful hard work beats the talent myth, and that any individual can succeed given the right support.”