From education to employment

Attending a Dedicated Sixth Form College

Independent Sixth Form Colleges, such as Abbey College Manchester, are a popular choice for students looking for a more mature, independent learning environment and there are many advantages that this environment offers to students aiming to gain entry to a top university. Chris Randell, Principal at Abbey College Manchester explains…

Independent colleges follow the same guidelines and regulations as any independent school and are members of the same organisations, Boarding Schools Association, Independent School Association, Independent Schools Inspectorate. Independent Colleges offer the same national standards of care as a traditional school. Here we explore the advantages of attending a sixth form college, such as Abbey College Manchester.

Care focused around the needs of a sixth former
At Colleges, the pastoral system is designed with sixth form study in mind, so is in line with the needs of students aged 15 years plus. Colleges will have structures in place such as a House system, study support programmes and unrivalled UCAS support. Sixth Form Colleges are organised to retain the support systems and culture that enable teachers to intervene in a regular and timely way ensuring that students stay on track with their studies and achieve to their maximum. They are experts in understanding the needs of older teenagers and the issues they face.

Academic Focus, Wider Offering and Flexibility
Teachers are focused on teaching sixth form curriculum in their subject areas, so they are specialist and passionate about teaching at this level and have time to run clubs and extra-curricular activities aimed to stretch and support these students. This means teachers have more time to supervise and support students with wider reading around the exam curriculum.
Sixth form colleges can have greater academic flexibility with the timetable and subjects offered. Colleges often offer more subjects than traditional schools. This allows a greater combination of subjects to be studied together. Plus, Colleges are able to offer Foundation Programmes as well as GCSEs and A Level, allowing further choice and flexibility for students.

With the smaller number of year groups, Sixth Form Colleges are able to offer more clubs and activities aimed at older students to support and enhance their subject studies. This makes them more attractive candidates to top universities.

Preparation for University Life
Students have a greater element of supervised freedom than at a school, so preparing them for the independent lifestyle they will receive at university. At Abbey College Manchester, the wide international mix gives students a truly global outlook and establishes a lifelong international friendship network. This is also good preparation for the international environment at top universities and something that our Alumni do say helped them settle quickly into their university studies.

To learn more about Abbey College Manchester, visit

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