25 March 2019

Birkenhead Sixth Form College has won a prestigious national award which recognises our commitment to affording all students the same opportunities in education, no matter their background.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards has celebrated excellence and innovative practice amongst Further Education colleges for the past 25 years, we were awarded the prize for Social Mobility and Widening Participation, sponsored by the Skills and Education Group.

More than 700 education sector leaders and staff gathered at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane for the ceremony, hosted by comedian Dave Gorman, and which is renowned as the ‘Oscars of Further Education’.

After a rigorous three-stage assessment process, Birkenhead Sixth Form College came out with the award, which honours those who excel in inclusivity and offering all students the chance to succeed.

Social mobility has long been associated with Birkenhead Sixth Form College, with almost 90% of our students going onto university after their A Levels and BTECs, and the majority are the first generation in their families to do so.

The AoC award comes after the College was named ‘Sixth Form College of the Year’ last year at the TES Awards, and an Ofsted inspection declared that we were outstanding in all areas.

Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Mike Kilbride, said: “Winning an award such as this is a huge honour, but at the same time, it simply reflects what our ethos and values instil in our students and staff every day.

“People from all walks of life can put limitations on themselves based on circumstances beyond their control. Our aim is to help students realise that those limitations are a myth, and that evidence proves that success is possible for everyone through meaningful hard work. There are not a chosen few who can achieve.”

Mike, who has overseen the College’s results placing in the top 10% in the country for five years running, continued: “We seek to raise the ambitions of our students, each and every day. It is extremely pleasing to be recognised as a national leader in social mobility as it is part and parcel of our DNA, and will continue to be so in order to best serve our community.”

An AoC Beacon Awards statement said: “The College takes a radical approach, telling students from the outset that ‘there’s no such thing as talent and that success is a product of hard work’.

“The assessors noted the College’s ‘strategic approach to understanding the disadvantages and needs of students, and then providing them with a tailored experience to enable and empower learners to change the direction of their lives’.”

The College will now host a workshop to show best practice, with colleges from across the country visiting Birkenhead.