SFCA Member News


One Sixth Form College was crowned the ‘BTEC College of the Year 2018’ during the 2018 BTEC Awards that were held at Westminster Hall in London on Thursday 5 July 2018.

The occasion was organised by Pearson – an organisation that creates qualifications for schools and colleges in the UK and abroad. They set up the awards to recognise and reward students, teachers, schools and colleges for their exceptional achievements. Judges then independently chose the Ipswich based sixth form as the winner in this category.

Director of curriculum quality and management information systems at One Sixth Form College, Rob Bamford, said,  “This award is something that can be shared with every student that has and is studying here - and every member of staff who work for us. They consistently go the extra mile to make One Sixth Form College an outstanding learning environment.

Deputy Principal of One Sixth Form College, Jenny Milsom, said, “To get recognition on this scale from one of the largest qualification awarding organisations in the world is exceptional and we are very proud of all our students and staff who have contributed to this success. We will continue the work we do to ensure that every student who studies with us has the very best possible chance of future success.”



SFCA sponsors Salford City College Student of the Year Award

SFCA was delighted to sponsor Salford City Colleges's Student Award Award. The awards event celebrated the talent nurtured at Salford City College, with the most prestigious Student of the Year Award going to Media Studies student Yazmin Mir whose course tutor described her as an 'exemplary student' and a 'role model to others'. SFCA's sponsorship went on the trophy pictured below, and SFCA is delighted to contribute towards celebrating outstanding achievements in our member institutions. The full story can be read here

Portsmouth social enterprise launches alliance with 3 Sixth Form Colleges

Social enterprise Unloc is to launch an alliance with two of the UK’s leading Sixth Form Colleges in order to further support entrepreneurship and innovation in further education. The network will now include high-flying Hills Road Sixth Form College (Cambridge) and innovative Alton Sixth Form College (Alton), in addition to Portsmouth College. The full story can be read here.

Wyke Sixth Form College make history by winning the English Colleges Football Association National U19 Cup

The full story can be read here.

Shrewsbury Colleges Group to aim for ‘outstanding’ under leadership of new Principal and CEO

James Staniforth, the newly appointed CEO and Principal of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, will officially take up his post this month and has spoken of his plans to make the College ‘outstanding’. Mr Staniforth joins the Group on 16 April from Strode College in Street, Somerset, which he joined as Principal and Chief Executive in August 2010 and which he led to being graded Outstanding by Ofsted in 2014. 

Media coverage at Shropshire Live can be found here.

Rochdale Sixth Form College is first to setup and lead a MAT

After successfully converting to academy status, Rochdale became the first SFC to setup and lead their own MAT, the Altus Education Partnership.

Principal Julian Appleyard OBE said "We believe that by working with like-minded institutions, the Altus Education Partnership can make an enormous contribution to improving the life chances of young people. This is about the moral dimension. It would be easy for the college to sit back and not involve itself in helping improve the wider education system. I think this would be totally wrong. This MAT will be about building a family of schools, rooted in a shared moral purpose and that simply means doing right by our young people. High expectations, being ambitious for students and a relentless pursuit of improving outcomes will be the focus."

Media coverage in the TES can be found at:


SFCA congratulates St John Rigby College for their Ofsted 'Outstanding' grade

23rd March, 2017

The report and Principal's comments can be found here.


 SFCA congratulates Hereford Sixth Form College on becoming the first SFC to academise

 1st March, 2017

Hereford Sixth Form College has today become the first Sixth Form College to join the academy programme. Many others are expected to follow, with 18 of the 90 Sixth Form Colleges in England already at the advanced stage of the conversion process to become a 16-19 academy. More than two thirds of colleges in the sector are actively considering whether to academise. 

The option to become an academy was made available following a campaign by the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA) to remove the imposition of VAT on Sixth Form Colleges. The government refunds the VAT costs of schools and academies, but not Sixth Form Colleges. This leaves the average Sixth Form College £385,914 per year worse off, and amounts to a tax on learning that redirects funding away from the front line education of students. 

After the campaign by SFCA to drop this ‘learning tax’ (supported by a cross-party group of MPs and high profile former students such as the actor Colin Firth, and presenter Dermot O’Leary), the then Chancellor George Osborne announced in the 2015 Spending Review that the government would “allow Sixth Form Colleges to become academies so they no longer have to pay VAT”. 

After almost 18 months of implementation, including a national reorganisation of Post-16 education in England, the first Sixth Form College will finally be able to take advantage of this opportunity on Wednesday. One reason the process has been so protracted is that Sixth Form Colleges are effectively being nationalised – they are currently categorised as private sector institutions by the Office for National Statistics and will joining the public sector when they become academies. 

James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association said: “This marks the beginning of a new chapter in sixth form education in England. By becoming an academy, Sixth Form Colleges like Hereford will be able to forge closer links with local schools and invest more money in the education of their own students. Not all Sixth Form Colleges will become academies but it is right that that they have the option to do so when it is in the best interests of their students”. 

Jonathan Godfrey: Principal of Hereford Sixth Form College said: “We are delighted to become the first Sixth Form College to academise. This will allow us to formalise some of the collaborative work we are involved in with our excellent local 11-16 partner schools, and the VAT refund will enable us to direct additional resources to the education of our students. As the first Sixth Form College to take this step, we have been able to help shape the conversion process and we hope this will benefit other Sixth Form Colleges that become academies in the future”.

The event has received extensive media coverage, including by TES, The Times, and The Hereford Times.