College context and admissions

College context and admissions

Context of the college

Rochdale Sixth Form College opened in September 2010. The College was set up to address the underachievement at A level in a borough with high levels of deprivation and where performance at GCSE is below the national average. The College was awarded a Grade 1; Outstanding, in the 2013 Ofsted inspection and was placed at the top of the Department for Education's Performance Tables for Progress in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The majority of students progress to the college from schools within the Rochdale Borough, with around 10% of students on roll from schools outside of Rochdale.

Programme of Study

The majority of students at RSFC will complete a programme of three A levels. There are a small number of students who will complete four A levels, although these students are the exception. Students who have achieved particularly highly at GCSE have a discussion during an interview on whether it would be beneficial for them to complete four A levels; these students are given the option of completing four A levels or completing three A levels with an EPQ in year 13; many opt for the latter due to the excellent opportunities for independent research provided by the EPQ. Students at RSFC will not complete AS Levels in any reformed subjects. The College has taken this decision to allow students to focus on preparing for the terminal examinations at the end of year 13.

Assessment strategy

To ensure that students are effectively prepared for the terminal examinations and to provide an accurate prediction of what a student is likely to achieve at the end of Year 13 we have developed a college-wide assessment strategy. Throughout Year 12 and 13 students complete assessments every three weeks, based around examination criteria, using past exam questions and exam board exemplar materials. Students also completed a synoptic examination in January of Year 12. Due to Covid-19 students were unable to complete a synoptic in the summer term. Students are assessed on all material completed up to the point of assessment with all assessments based upon examination criteria. These assessments are used to inform predicted grades alongside an assessment completed in September of Year 13. Students will complete another synoptic assessment in January to support their preparation for the final examinations in summer.


The college closed on Friday 20 March 2020, transferring all lessons online from Monday 23 March. Students were taught via Microsoft Teams up to Tuesday 7 July. From September the college has operated a hybrid teaching model, 50% in class and 50% accessing lessons online from home, this is alternated each week.