On Friday 28 May during the FE Awards RSFC was awarded the Tes sixth-form college of the year. To be shortlisted for this award is a huge achievement but to win the award is a very special moment in the history of Rochdale Sixth Form College.
The award is focused on the last academic year but is also a reflection of the achievements and work undertaken since we opened. The following is what the judges said about us in the winner’s book:
“For 10 years, Rochdale Sixth Form College has provided life-changing opportunities for students from a range of backgrounds – and this year, as its staff and students dealt with the challenges of the pandemic, the college took extraordinary measures to push its impact even further.
On 23 March, as England entered lockdown, Rochdale Sixth Form became a virtual college, with a business-as-usual approach to education and mental wellbeing.
The teaching and learning strategy incorporated Microsoft Teams – with live lessons matched exactly to students’ previous timetables – and support materials on the college’s virtual learning environment, videos on ClickView and physical study packs posted to all students.
The dedication of the staff was reflected in 93.2 per cent online student attendance and a two-year retention rate of 95.5 per cent.
The sixth-form college also worked collaboratively with neighbouring FE college Hopwood Hall to support the wellbeing and education of Year 11 students who were due to join the colleges in September 2020.
Together, the colleges provided materials to support transition and created the “Rochdale offer”, which guaranteed a place at one of the colleges for all Year 11 leavers.
Lead judge Bill Watkin said: “Rochdale Sixth Form College has demonstrated, this year, the power of collaboration and the effect of a relentless focus on standards.
“It has worked with schools and colleges across the Rochdale community to raise standards, and support young people and their families, showing true system leadership and system partnership.””
Richard Ronksley, Principal & CEO commented: “For RSFC to be awarded ‘sixth-form college of the year’ is an incredible achievement, and due and rightful recognition for what staff and students have achieved together since the college’s opening, but particularly over the last year and a half. I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the importance of our partnership with Hopwood Hall College – working together with them on the innovative ‘Rochdale Offer’, which guarantees all students in local schools a place at one of the town’s two colleges, was one of the aspects of RSFC that judges praised most highly.”