About Sixth Form Colleges

The first SFC opened in Luton in 1966 and today there are 90 official or ‘designated’ Sixth Form Colleges across England. They offer an extensive range of courses, both academic and vocational, and their pastoral care is specialised 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. In 2014, more than 160,000 16 to 18 year olds were enrolled on a course at a Sixth Form College with most (90%) studying for a level 3 qualification (A level or equivalent).

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

An education success story

Sixth Form Colleges outperform school and academy sixth forms while educating more disadvantaged students and receiving less funding.

They also offer superior value for money by delivering better outcomes than school and academies at a lower cost to the public purse. All of this is achieved with a greater proprotion of students eligible for Free School Meals: 11 per cent of Sixth Form College students were eligible for this benefit at age 15 compared to 8 per cent in academies.

  • Sixth Form Colleges help their students to achieve better academic exam results than all other non-selective providers in the state sector
  • This success comes at a much lower cost to the public purse. Because they are so efficient, an exam point achieved in a Sixth Form College costs almost a third less than an exam point achieved in an academy sixth form
  • Sixth Form College students are more likely to progress to higher education than students educated elsewhere in the state sector
  • And Sixth Form Colleges are particularly effective at helping students to progress to the most selective universities
  • Of course, making it to university is only one form of success. Many Sixth Form College students enter the world of work, and/or embark on job-specific traning after completing their studies