The Sixth Form College, Colchester, is one of the most successful colleges in the country and maintains an outstanding local and national reputation. The College’s aim is to provide broad, high quality academic and general education programmes to our 16-19 year old full time students. It is very secure in terms of both finances and student admissions and currently has approximately three thousand full time students on roll, most of whom are following two-year A Level courses. Since September 2003 there has also been a cohort of students following the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme.


The ethos and atmosphere in the College is positive and vibrant with a strong sense of community. A broadly based educational experience is provided for full time 16-19 year old students, and the importance of the development of each individual student is recognised. Operating as a young adult environment the College provides a bridge between the worlds of school and of higher education or employment. The aim is to give students the skills, opportunities and qualifications needed to progress and make the transition to the full adult world successfully. Parents are involved in supporting students' education; they regularly receive reports on progress, attend consultation evenings and are contacted when it is felt that they need to be involved.

The Curriculum

We offer an extensive and challenging range of examination subjects and courses. Students are able to choose programmes from over 50 A Level subjects as well as the option of the IB Programme and a variety of other courses leading to GCSE and other qualifications. A one-year GCSE ‘improvement’ (Advanced Foundation) programme is also offered.

A programme, including extra tuition or preparation is provided for students wishing to apply to Oxford and Cambridge, medical schools and a number of other competitive career areas. In addition, a range of special support, extension or supplementary courses are offered for students seeking entry into professions such as medicine, teaching, sport, journalism, and media are available.

Our Additional Studies and extra-curricular programmes offers students over 100 options each year and provides enrichment and skills development opportunities and offers considerable scope for broadening of education. They allow students to develop personal interests and individual skills.

Pastoral Care

We believe that much of the success of the College, and indeed sixth form colleges in general, lies in the strong emphasis on pastoral care and a concern for the particular needs of each individual student. The College has its own pleasant and distinctive atmosphere and a clear sense of community. Our students adopt a mature approach and staff/student relationships are very good. Each student is allocated to a tutor group led by a Personal Tutor who looks after the general and academic welfare of that student. This work is supported by a Senior Tutor. Students receive individual advice and support at every stage of their time with us starting from their initial application for entry. A strong Careers team provides continual expert guidance as well as offering precise preparation for applications to higher education, employment and training.

Examination Results and Progression

Strong public examination results and high level of entry to higher education are obvious proofs of success. At A Level the A-E grade pass rate has been consistently very high. The College has a comprehensive intake of A Level students broadly in line with the national norm. Using A (and previously AS Level) overall value-added measures the College has, for several years, achieved the best value-added scores for any sixth form college in the country. GCSE results, where most entries are on re-take basis, also comfortably exceed the national pass rates. IB Diploma results have been outstanding – well above both the national and international averages. Each year nearly 1000 students successfully gain places in higher education to which they progress either directly or after a GAP year. Every year students have been successful in attaining offers for places at Oxford and Cambridge and there are very large numbers progressing into professional areas including Medicine, Veterinary Science, Architecture and Law or to other ‘Russell Group’ universities or to other very competitive degree courses.

Tutorial Programme

The Tutorial Programme is delivered by a team of approximately 115 Personal Tutors supported by 8 Senior Tutors and a series of other specialists. It includes individual counselling, careers and HE information and the regular review of the student's academic progress. In addition it enables students to consider broader personal, social and world issues, which are also presented by visiting speakers, in wider debates and through a series of materials.

Student Activities

Many students choose to take part in one or a number of activities from a broad range including sports, drama, music, dance and many other recreational and creative activities. Students are also encouraged to take greater responsibility for themselves and to improve the general life of the College through involvement in the elected College Council, its six main committees (social/arts/charities/sport/environment/international) and their organised events and activities. There is a high level of extracurricular activity and many organised trips, visits, residential experiences and expeditions. This includes a large programme of international expeditions and visits offered by staff.

Learning Environment and Facilities

The College is very well located and has provided students with an excellent learning environment and facilities. It is situated on an historic town centre site and is located on top of and around rich Roman archaeology. A school formerly occupied the site and in 1986/87 the ‘old building’, which dates from 1912, was substantially and very attractively refurbished. At the same time a large new extension was designed and constructed to meet the specific needs of a new sixth form college. A £3 million extension was completed in 1998 to supplement the existing accommodation with a further £6 million being spent in the period to 2004 on a series of additions, modifications and enhancements.

In 2004 the College completed construction of a £1 million IT Centre which has provided additional accommodation on the lower part of the site and a £5 million major ‘mid site’ building development was opened in Spring 2007 providing a mixture of replacement and additional accommodation. This was followed in Summer 2007 by the construction of an outdoor floodlit multi-purpose sports surface.

In 2011 a purpose built Language Centre was opened and in 2014, 15 and 16 a whole series of new extensions and buildings were added including The Pavilion facility, 58 North Hill and extensions to the Performing Arts Centre building and the Main building. This enabled a significant increase in curriculum space but also student study and social space.

Senior Staff

The Principal, Vice Principal, Assistant Principals and Senior Tutors are always very willing to help you or talk to you should you wish to discuss anything with them. Photographs of all staff are to be found in College – ask at Reception for details. The Senior staff are as follows:

Ian MacNaughton
The Principal is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the College. He directs the major strategic functioning of the College and liaises with the Governing Body
Adrian Frost
Assistant Principal
Senior Tutor for Division 1 and responsibilities include Admissions, Schools Liaison and Marketing, The College Website, Public Relations, EPQ and IB Curriculum
Jan Harker
Assistant Principal
Responsibilities include Improving Teaching and Learning, Staff Development, Curriculum and Curriculum Resources
Anne Johnson
Assistant Principal
Senior Tutor for Division 8 and responsibilities include ‘Inspection Nominee’, Curriculum and Quality Assurance, Head of Careers and HE Guidance, Information Systems, Direction of the General Studies and Advanced Foundation Programme (AFP)
Jo Cadman
Assistant Principal
Responsibilities for Pastoral support, Child Protection and Student Welfare, Safeguarding, College Counsellor, Financial Support, Learning Support.
Graham Rayner
Assistant Principal
Senior Tutor for Division 4, Health and Safety, Duke of Edinburgh, AFP Students and AFP Curriculum with AP, Examinations and Assessment and Tutorial Programme.
Mark Griffin-Sherwood
Senior Curriculum Manager
Senior Tutor for Division 3 and responsibilities include Timetable, Equality and Diversity, Lettings and Rooming
Tim Harrison
Senior Curriculum Manager Director of Premises, Estates, and Facilities
IT Systems and Facilities, MIS Teams, Accommodation, Facilities, Resources and Premises
Neil Kelly
Senior Tutor and Head of Student Services
Senior Tutor Division 7 and responsibilities include Student Services and the College Council
Andrew Hathaway
Senior Tutor
Senior Tutor for Division 2 and Head of Health and Social Care
Sarah Prince
Senior Tutor
Senior Tutor for Division 5, Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Director of Learning Support
Karen Burns
IB Co-ordinator
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Curriculum Co-ordinator
Sarah Williams
Senior Manager
Human Resources and Administration Manager
Elizabeth Gibson
Finance Manager
Financial Management Systems and Procedures, Financial Support

The Locality

Colchester is an historic and rapidly growing large town located in southern East Anglia, at the centre of North East Essex, with strong links to London. It has an attractive centre built on the site of the Roman settlement of Camulodunum. The population of the town has grown from under 100,000 in the 1970s to around 175,000 and rapidly rising at present. Substantial new residential building is underway or scheduled and the local population is projected to increase by a further 7-10% within the next 10 years.

The area is a mixture of estuaries and open countryside, long-established village communities, a number of coastal holiday resorts, sailing centre towns and a major port. Colchester is located very close to the Suffolk border, just to the south of 'Constable Country' and is only 18 miles away from Ipswich, the county town of Suffolk; nearly 20% of College students are resident in Suffolk. Colchester is also close to the county town of Chelmsford and is 52 miles (45 minutes by train) from London. Regular intercity rail and local services operate to and from London and the proximity of London, Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich offers excellent opportunities for a range of curriculum, social and wider activities.