It is the college’s goal to ensure that all students who enrol with us are on study programmes that suit their individual abilities and talents, take account of their prior attainment, and will allow them to fulfil their future aspirations. The college’s mission statement underpins this goal:
‘To provide an outstanding, inclusive education for our students, so that they are equipped to the very best of their abilities to move onto Higher Education and employment.’
We provide prospective students with the widest range of A Level and vocational courses in the local area to enable them to put together study programmes tailored to their needs and plans. The college’s Marketing and School Partnership team provides materials and support in schools, alongside organising Open Days and Evenings, Taster Days and a New Students’ Day, to make certain that all applicants make well-informed decisions about the courses they will study with us. Future students will have an admissions interview after they have submitted their application to discuss their preferred study options. They will have a further interview, after they receive their Level 2 results, at enrolment, to double-check their study programme plays to their strengths and will facilitate their progression to university or employment when they leave college. As part of the admissions process, we have ‘case conferences’ with partner schools, so we are aware of individual students’ progress, circumstances, and any additional support that may be required can be put in place before they continue their educational journey with us.
We offer over 60 academic and vocational courses, with a wide variety of subjects from which to choose. To see a ful list of all the course we have to offer click below.
The majority of our students follow a Level 3 study programme and there are 3 main routes for them:
- A Level programmes
All our A Level students will study a 4 AS Level (or equivalent) programme in Year 12. We have retained this model, unlike many other post-16 providers, as we believe it is right educationally for our students. The requirement to study 4 subjects ensures that students have a clear structure to their learning and develop excellent study habits. It also gives them more flexibility as they choose their A Levels at the beginning of Year 13 and as they consider their progression routes after college. Most importantly, it helps students to secure higher grades in their A Levels and makes them better qualified than students who do not have this opportunity.
- Blended programmes
These programmes allow students to combine vocational and academic courses. Such combinations will often suit students who are considering a primarily vocational progression route, but one which requires academic qualifications too. The mixture of vocational and academic courses also favours students who enjoy courses that are coursework-based, as well as being comfortable with the demands of exams.
- Vocational programmes
All our vocational students will focus on one main study area, such as Health & Social Care, Business or Travel & Tourism, that links precisely to the future study or employment plans that they have identified at application and enrolment. These courses are ideally-suited to students with more defined future plans and with specific pathways in mind.
In addition, the college has a Foundation Year option for students who, for a variety of reasons, just miss our entry requirements for Level 3 having been predicted to meet them. Where students can progress onto a Level 3 programme, but have not yet achieved a GCSE Grade 4 in either Maths or English, these will be added to their Level 3 courses. We have an excellent track record in internal progression, with the majority of our Level 2 students moving onto Level 3 with us, and our outstanding pass-rates in GCSE English and Maths ensure that students’ plans beyond college can be fulfilled, be that university or employment.
Monitoring and support
Throughout all students’ time at college, their progress will be closely monitored to ensure they reach their full potential. All students will have a weekly session with their Progress Tutor who will support their studies during the 2 (or 3) years they are at college. These sessions will offer general advice and guidance about study and progression, but also 1-2-1 meetings to look at each individual student’s performance and to put effective strategies in place to help them succeed. We want all our students to remain safe and healthy during their time at OSFC, and tutorial sessions are also used to address broader concerns, such as physical and mental health, that are as important as academic skills and abilities. Our Additional Support Team is in place to offer additional help to students with particular support requirements.
Progression and employability
Over a prolonged period of time, the college has provided its students with purposeful progression routes. Most of our Year 13 students (on average 75%) move onto Higher Education, with 20% of our university entrants attending a Russell Group university, while the vast majority of other students move into apprenticeships or employment. We help students make the right decisions for them via the support provided by Progress Tutors, but also through the fantastic impartial advice and guidance from our experienced Careers Team. We also offer programmes, such as the Varsity Tutor Group Programme, Aspiring Medics, Lawyers and Health Professionals’ Programmes, and Oxbridge Group, to help those with more specific goals, Our work in this area has been recognised though our winning of the Social Mobility Award at the 2017 Educate North Awards.
We also believe that it is important that students have the opportunity for appropriate work experience and develop their employability skills, as well as enhancing their personal qualities and independent study habits. Many of our students will undertake work placements as part of their study programmes, while support is in place to help other students to access events that will help them ensure their future employability. The college’s extensive Xtras programme exists to give students a break from their studies, while also allowing them to learn new abilities or to develop existing ones. We are, for example, one of the largest DofE centres in the North of England and encourage all students to participate in this highly-regarded additional qualification.