Birkenhead Sixth Form College has been honoured with a national award for innovation in our curriculum.

College Principal Kathryn Podmore and Deputy Principal Mike Kilbride collected the prize at the Sixth Form Colleges Association’s inaugural awards ceremony for our ground-breaking Academic Mentor Programme, which is run in conjunction with the major universities in the area.

Principal Kathryn Podmore with Deputy Principal Mike Kilbride and the ceremony's compare, FE Commissioner Richard Atkins

The unique scheme sees undergraduates from a number of universities, including the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores, visit the College to give peer-to-peer mentoring and advice to A Level students in a range of different subjects. First starting in the Humanities department at the College four years ago, the programme has since gone from strength to strength, with this year seeing over 25 mentors offering their academic assistance to teenagers studying in more than a dozen subjects.

Such was the success of the programme for both our A Level students and undergraduates that the University of Liverpool’s Geography department have started offering students in the third year of their degrees the option of becoming a mentor as a module of their study, with the aim being to assist those looking to enter into the teaching profession.

Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, Bill Watkin, called the Academic Mentor Programme a ‘pioneering development’ and praised Birkenhead Sixth Form College as an ‘example of outstanding work’.

SFCA Chief Executive Bill Watkin


Mr Watkin continued: “Over 25 mentors now deliver their sessions with a focus on exam technique and revision skills.

“Success doesn’t just happen, it is the result of very hard work and great team work.”

On receiving the ‘SFCA Award for Curriculum Innovation’ at a ceremony in Nottingham’s De Vere Jubilee Conference Centre, Principal Kathryn Podmore said: “We are absolutely delighted and privileged to have won this award and we are extremely proud to be at the national forefront of innovation in this crucial sector of education.

“We endeavour to keep all aspects of our A Level provision at an outstanding level, and the hard work and creative thinking of our staff and students, and those who work and study at our partner universities, richly deserves this commendation.”

The Principal concluded: “We are a forward-thinking College and aim for our young people to be as successful, engaged and passionate as possible about fulfilling their potential. The Academic Mentor Programme is a wonderful example of the great many things we do to ensure that.”

Click here to read more about the College's unique Academic Mentor Programme