18 January 2023

Birkenhead Sixth Form College students have significantly outperformed the national average for GCSE resit results, which includes two Ukrainian refugees sitting English GCSE for the first time.

Nationally recognised for outstanding results at A Level, Birkenhead Sixth Form College has another string to its bow in offering a second chance to students who had failed Maths and English at high school.

The national average pass rate was measured at 20% in 2022 after a full year of resit study, with exams taken in the summer. Birkenhead Sixth Form College’s pass rates of 53% in Maths and 72% in English Language are made all the more remarkable given that students had only been studying at the College for just three months and turned their fortunes around when taking the exams in November.

Pass rates at Birkenhead Sixth Form College for students taking GCSEs is expected to rise to 75% and 90% in those respective subjects by the end of the academic year. 

Among the students to receive their superb results were Sofiia Bobyr and Tetiana Nimko, who arrived in the UK in summer 2022 having had to flee the war in Ukraine with Russia. 

Both teenagers succeeded in being awarded grade 4 and 5s, 5 being a high pass, in Maths and English while sitting exams in a second language, which is a phenomenal achievement having not even lived in the country for a year yet.

In an initiative called ‘Year 0’, a number of students join Birkenhead Sixth Form College who did not achieve the entry requirements for A Level standard study, where they will complete a foundation year programme including Maths and / or English Language GCSEs before moving up to sixth form level education. Many of these students each year go on to universities and apprenticeship programmes that they may not have thought possible given their position when finishing high school.

Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Mike Kilbride, said: “Our results in Maths and English GCSE resits continue to be some of the most impressive in the country year-on-year, with the teachers in each subject managing to get students to levels that even they didn’t think they were capable of. 

“It’s worth remembering that for the majority of these students, they have studied for these exams for five years at their high schools and not managed to pass the terminal exams, but given less than three months at the College, they are achieving a bare minimum of a pass, if not going into the range of high grades. It speaks volumes about the ability of the teachers here in the classrooms and being able to get students to reach their full potential.”

Mike continued: “Whilst we are a specialist sixth form and a stepping stone to university for most, we also recognise that some students have not been afforded opportunities in education that others have. Huge numbers will have felt marginalised by the age of 11 through the 11+ entry process to grammar schools and never had the confidence to succeed in academia. We pride ourselves on identifying those students and ensuring that the same opportunities are granted to them as everyone else.”