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Annual Report 19/20 01253 394911

Chair of Director’s Message At the start of this, my third year as Chair of Directors at Blackpool Sixth, I am delighted to be able to deliver this message on behalf of the Directors. This academic year is starting as the last one ended, in unprecedented circumstances. The Coronavirus pandemic has required all schools and colleges to make significant adjustments to the way in which they organise the delivery of teaching and learning - this has been no easy task. The Directors are immensely grateful to the leadership and staff of the college who have worked tirelessly over the past

six months to continue to provide the highest quality of educational experience for all students, including access to online learning programmes during the lockdown period and have started the new academic year with the same passion, drive and commitment. In June 2020, we had some excellent news from Pearson Education when they announced that Blackpool Sixth was the winner of the BTEC College of the Year 2020. The latest student and staff surveys have once again demonstrated significantly high levels of satisfaction with their college experience. The college is - and will continue to be - a beacon of educational excellence in Blackpool. Wendy Middlemass Chair of DIrectors

Principal’s Message I am pleased to share with you our annual report for 2019-20. The report covers just some of the many developments, achievements and events we witnessed last year. The arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic halfway through the academic year meant that the college had to undergo a rapid transformation so that we could continue to operate during such difficult times. The report gives plenty of examples of how students, staff and the wider college community rose to this immense challenge and achieved remarkable successes.

I have been amazed by the resilience, determination and creativity shown by our students and staff in the past months in particular. This is the sign of a strong and cohesive college community - something we are incredibly proud of. We are now at the start of another academic year and hopeful that the Coronavirus situation will improve so that we can dispense with some of the restrictions which are currently necessary. We are certain though that, whatever the situation, we will have plenty of success stories to share with you at this time next year. Jill Gray Principal

Outstanding teaching and learning are at the heart of what we do. Our students take part in exciting learning opportunities which go well beyond the classroom through international and community-based projects.

Expertise within college. We dedicate time and energy to finding the best, most effective tools and ensuring our teachers are supported and well trained in the latest platforms and techniques. Advice is readily available to staff and students on how to overcome any barriers they may have to working with technology.

In 2019-20 Blackpool Sixth further developed its already extremely successful and extensive ‘technology for learning’ initiatives. The necessity for the programme was reinforced by the way it enabled students to continue their learning despite the closure of the college site during the Coronavirus ‘lockdown.’

Support for students - we don't just offer a 'Learning Management platform' we offer students a full set of powerful, professional level tools. We give them everything they need to complete their work and learn a wide range of 21st century skills in the process. This includes unlimited storage for relevant files of

any kind or size. Specialist software at home - students have access to professional industry level software that they can install at home on their own machines.


Inspiring Learning

Some key aspects of the programme are:


Developing Character At Blackpool Sixth we seize every opportunity to develop our students’ experience of the world beyond college. This occurs in a variety of ways including through expeditions and meeting inspirational figures from different walks of life. The 2019 Memorial Lecture at Blackpool Sixth was delivered by Andy Grant, a former soldier who is now a leading disabled athlete and motivational coach. Andy recently featured in BBC Celebrity Masterchef. His inspiring and moving talk to students, staff and invited guests covered his extraordinary life story and what he has learned about achieving success in hugely

challenging circumstances. Andy’s life story is one of overcoming enormous adversity. At 12 years old, he lost his mum to leukaemia, leaving him to help his dad bring up his two younger sisters. At 17, he decided after a year of A levels, that he needed a different challenge and was drawn into the Royal Marines. After completing the Royal Marine Commando training, he earned his coveted green beret and served in operation in Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly seven years. Andy was blown up, five months into his tour to Afghanistan, which resulted in him spending two weeks in an induced coma and eighteen months in and out of hospital before he eventually decided to have his leg amputated for a better quality of life and for control of his future.

Since his amputation he has climbed some of the highest mountains in the world, learnt to ski and surf, and recently became the fastest single-leg amputee in the world over 10km; clocking a time of 37:17. Andy’s key message to his audience, based on his own amazing life story, was that, “It’s not the bad things that happen to you which define you, it’s how you respond to them that matters.” He draws inspiration from the Royal Marine’s ‘commando ethos’ which emphasizes “fortitude, determination, adaptability, unselfishness, humility and humour.” In the months following Andy’s talk it quickly became apparent how important his message was. The qualities he described are vital for everybody in the extremely challenging context of the Coronavirus pandemic. | 01253 394911


Respect Blackpool Sixth places particular emphasis on our core value of respect. We consider mutual respect to be a prerequisite for a successful community. In 2019-20 there were plenty of examples of students demonstrating their respect.. In August 2020 BTEC Protective Service students Charlotte and Maddie took part in a skydive to raise money for the fantastic work Our Blue Light Charity does. The charity supports those working in the public services. It prioritises mental health because they know that the situations the public services have to attend are not situations

that people should have to witness. The scenes they witness are ones that stick with them for life and “Our Blue Light” provides coping mechanisms so they are able to carry on doing what they do best. The students wrote, “This charity made a huge impact on us both and we wanted to try and help them carry on doing what they do. We had a long hard think about what would generate the most attention and we came up with the idea of doing a skydive.”




A core value of our college is ‘inclusion’. This means celebrating diversity and ensuring that no-one feels excluded from our college community on the basis of their background. Mental health was a key focus during 2019/20. The first event, for World Mental Health Day (October 2019) saw college hosting stands from organisations such as The Big White Wall, Blackpool Young Carers, Headstart, Minds Matter and the NHS Skincare service raising awareness of the support available for our young people in the local community. Following on from this, the college hosted our second Young People’s

Mental Health Debate, as part of our continuing collaboration The Royal College of Psychiatry, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Blackpool CAMHS and Blackpool Council. Again, local services promoted their support in the foyer before students and professionals debated the relationship between education and mental health in front of an audience of staff, students and pupils from some of our partner schools. In February/March the various specialists in the Additional Learning Support department successfully planned and delivered staff development within their areas of expertise, such as ASD, dyslexia, mental health and sensory impairments. These sessions

supported teachers to develop their awareness and understanding of the various additional support needs their students can face and how they can adapt their planning, delivery and assessment to meet these needs and enhance quality first teaching. In March, Blackpool Sixth was chosen to host a training session by BEAT, the Eating Disorder charity. In April information about Autism Awareness Day was shared on the college’s Facebook page, including a video created by the National Autistic Society outlining the struggles people with Autism can face and how to support them.

Blackpool Sixth sees itself as part of an increasingly interconnected world. We ensure that our students develop their awareness and understanding of other countries and cultures. In February, Blackpool Sixth welcomed Mr Bijay Raj Acharya, headteacher of Shubhakamana Academy in Nepal. The visit was the latest development in a longstanding relationship between Shubhakamana School and the Fylde Coast, led by Mr Jeremy Maninno, a former deputy headteacher who is currently a safeguarding advisor for


Global Citizenship

Blackpool Council and a director at Blackpool Sixth. Over the past 20 years Jeremy, through the organisation Impact Travel, has led over 25 groups of students from St Mary’s Catholic Academy and Baines School to Nepal to take part in the journey of a lifetime, experiencing a very different culture and contributing to a small village community by teaching in Shubhakamana Academy. Blackpool Sixth also ran a volunteering visit to the school in 2016, led by our head of social sciences, Abby Heyes. This visit was accompanied by a large fundraising effort to support the school and followed up by the college’s sponsorship of the education of two pupils at the school.


Support Blackpool Sixth prides itself on its friendly and supportive community, something which is confirmed regularly in student feedback. We continue to support our students in a variety of ways including through individual help with their studies from our caring staff. In June 2019, the college was awarded the Sixth Form Colleges Association Award for Student Support. This national award recognised the outstanding support we provide to all students but particularly those in care, care leavers or young people with caring responsibilities. | 01253 394911


We network extensively with local and national employers and universities to provide excellent pathways for our students and our future students. We are always delighted to hear from former students about their study and careers beyond Blackpool Sixth. This is especially the case when the student has overcome particular challenges. In the midst of the Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ one former student wrote to us with her story: “I started at Blackpool Sixth in 2015 with two GCSEs, that’s all. I had my dream set on


Building Futures

being a paramedic and with the help of Blackpool Sixth I re-sat my GCSEs (through the Route3 Programme) and then went onto do level 3 health and social care. I obtained a triple distinction star. My university awarded me with a £1000 reward for having these grades on entrance. I am soon going into my third and final year before I become a paramedic. During the pandemic I opted in to help out in the ambulance service and have been working in Manchester and Blackpool supporting the ambulance service during Covid-19. I feel so grateful to be doing a career I adore and it would never have happened without the amazing teaching and support at Blackpool Sixth, so I just want to say a big thank you for helping me re-sit those GCSEs and getting my level 3.”


Integrity Blackpool Sixth aims to uphold the highest standards of integrity - conducting ourselves in ways which demonstrate our values and honour our promises. As part of Prevent Week (9th to 16th October 2019), every Blackpool Sixth student had the opportunity to attend a show in the theatre called ‘Routes Prevent’, designed to further students’ understanding of the factors that are influencing the UK at the moment, including radicalisation, British values, hate crime, equality and other safeguarding issues. The theatre show was delivered by Steve Wright, a youth engagement specialist,

who used life-size puppet characters to approach difficult topics in a highly entertaining way. Nearly 2,000 students attended the show over two days. Students came away from the show with a deeper knowledge and understanding of personal and social issues and it also helped them to reflect on and challenge assumptions and stereotypes. As one teacher said, “It was a very emotional and thoughtprovoking performance that celebrated diversity and promoted tolerance and respect”


Creativity Blackpool Sixth students are creative students. Creativity was amply demonstrated in a series of fantastic performances and exhibitions during the first half of 2019/20 prior to ‘lockdown’. Brilliant dance, music and drama shows packed in the audiences in the theatre. During lockdown, visual arts students showed off their inspiring work with an online version of the annual ‘Young at Art’ exhibition and fashion show.

The pursuit of excellence is a key feature of Blackpool Sixth - excellence in academic and vocational studies, excellence in the arts and in sport. In June 2020 Blackpool Sixth won the national BTEC College of the Year award at the Pearson BTEC Awards. Additionally, two students from the college won Silver Awards, acknowledging their excellent achievements in their BTEC courses. Blackpool Sixth Principal, Jill Gray responded to the award, “We are absolutely thrilled that Blackpool Sixth has been recognised by

“Excellence in all we do is at the heart of the college and this award is a testament to the professionalism and commitment of all the staff at Blackpool Sixth and is shared with our amazing students, past, present and future.



one of the world’s leading awarding organisations, for the outstanding BTEC provision we provide. Our students are at the heart of all we do and we are incredibly proud of what they achieve and how they respond to the unstinting passion our staff have for inspiring learning, developing character, and building futures.


Celebrating Success

secure their place on results day, which is 9% higher than last year. Seven students gained places at Oxford or Cambridge university.

In August 2020 Blackpool Sixth students and staff once again celebrated a brilliant set of A level and BTEC level 3 results. 50 courses had a 100% pass rate and overall high grades for Level 3 subjects increased yet again. Furthermore, the upper high grades (highest possible grades) continued the upward trend of year on year improvement.

These results come against the backdrop of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the summer exams. After a rigorous quality assurance process, the college submitted its subject grades for each student to the exam board, carefully following the instructions of the qualifications authority, Ofqual.

85% of students holding university offers were able to 14 | 01253 394911

Key annual statistics TOTAL NUMBER OF STUDENTS 2019/20:


2018/19: 2017/18:

2080 1959


18/19 19/20

A Level BTEC Level 3 A Level & BTEC Level 3 Combined Level 2 (Route3)

37.8% 36.8% 19.9% 5.5%

37.8% 37.6% 19.1% 5.5%



Higher Education Apprenticeship Gap Year Employment/Other

Summer 2019

70.7% 3.5% 6.4% 19.4%


INCOME Year ended Funding Tuition Fees Other Grant Income Other Operating Income Interest Received

Total income



9677 73 15 244 11

9527 76 11 297 22





6927 2053 790 249

7447 1871 770 233



EXPENDITURE Year ended Staff Salaries Other Operating Expenditure Depreciation Interest Payable

Total expenditure



The Blackpool Sixth Form College For all the latest news, stories and information please visit our website and follow us on social media: web: facebook: instagram: The Blackpool Sixth Form College, Blackpool Old Road, Blackpool, Lancashire FY3 7LR 01253 394911

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Blackpool Sixth Annual Report 2020  

Blackpool Sixth Annual Report 2020  


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