Closer ties have been forged between Grimsby’s Franklin College and the Humber’s three other sixth form colleges.
The Chelmsford Avenue college will be developing closer links with John Leggott College in Scunthorpe and Wilberforce and Wyke sixth form colleges in Hull. The four have a long history of working together and have taken the opportunity to move this collaboration a stage further. Each sixth form college will remain independent, but acting together the group – under the umbrella of the Humber Federation of Sixth Form Colleges – will be able to offer even more opportunities to young people across the region.
Franklin Principal Trevor Wray said the Humber Federation of Sixth Form Colleges was, in part, a response to the Department for Education’s Area Review of post-16 colleges. The Area Review is part of a nationwide look at post-16 education. Only colleges are included, although schools and academies can opt-in if they wish. The reviews of Greater Lincolnshire and Yorkshire and the Humber will be published later this year, and shows the four colleges performing exceptionally well. The reviews recommend that the four sixth form colleges continue as independent providers, and are enthusiastic about the potential that the Humber Federation offers to young people in the area.
“The four sixth form colleges saw there was an opportunity for closer links and cooperation that would benefit students across the region,” said Mr Wray.
“We are the four most successful A-level providers in the Humber region and, collectively, have over 7,000 sixth form students.
“We offer the widest, and the best, range of A levels and vocational courses in the region, and working together can only improve this still further. Our staff have already started to share ideas and best practices – there is real potential for us to be the very best sixth forms in the country.
“Another key benefit will be to widen opportunities for young people across the Humber region and reducing the need to travel to learn.
“There will be a strong focus on meeting the needs of local and national employers for increasing the proportion of students qualified at advanced level, both in A level and vocational courses, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. As a group, we already help hundreds of young people each year get the university place they want, and in addition our students are very successful in getting jobs, degree and higher apprenticeships.
“It is an equal partnership. One college is not merging with another. Students will continue to be Franklin students but will have many more opportunities available to them as part of the federation. This is about learning from each other, working more closely with employers and providing sixth formers across the region a fantastic education that equips them for the next chapter in their lives.
“The Area Review and subsequent collaboration secures our future as an independent college. Although the Government have offered sixth form colleges the chance to become Academies, we have decided that this route is not for us. There are better and wider opportunities available to us by remaining as independent colleges. We’re still directly funded by the Government, but we are not looking to go down the Academy pathway.”
The chair of Franklin College Corporation Alex Baxter said: “There is a determination across the four sixth form colleges to deliver university and work-ready students.
“It’s about developing and improving. Clearly, it’s to everybody’s advantage we deliver the highest possible student outcomes and provide added value. The collaboration between the colleges will help on both fronts.”