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the sixth form college Prospectus September 2013 Entry



Welcome I am delighted that you are considering Birkenhead Sixth Form College to continue your education. We are proud to be Wirral’s specialist sixth form college and a Centre of Academic Excellence for sixth form studies. We offer a positive choice for students who want to move on from school and study in a college environment that allows them to develop as young adults and provides a springboard to university, employment and a rewarding career. Many students go on to Oxbridge and other top performing universities including those in the Russell Group. Our college offers a mature and supportive atmosphere underpinned by a strong work ethic. This year we have opened new facilities to further complement the expert teaching by our highly committed, subject specialist staff. It means even more resources to help you make the transition from school to higher level study and to achieve your full potential. We have high aspirations for our students and believe that all can aspire, achieve and succeed. Each year we attain outstanding results that exceed both local and national results, placing the College in the top 25% of sixth form colleges nationwide. We look forward to welcoming you and encourage you to visit a college Open Evening where you can meet current students and staff to find out more about the exciting opportunities on offer with us.

Kathryn Podmore Principal


Birkenhead Sixth Form College - the sixth form college for Wirral, specialising in A Level and BTEC courses for 16-19 year olds.

We have made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this prospectus is accurate at the time of printing. The College reserves the right to make changes and cannot accept liability arising out of, or in connection with any revision.


Wirral’s Sixth Form College


Why Choose Us


Course Choices


Level 3 Courses


Level 2 Courses




Student Life


Getting to College


Applying to College


If you have difficulty reading this publication, please contact us to ask about alternative formats.

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Our Values • Having the highest standards and expectations in everything we do • Delivering high quality teaching and learning • Enabling all learners and staff to achieve their full potential • Creating a challenging and supportive educational experience • Fostering independence, personal growth and aspirations • Promoting equality of opportunity and respect in a safe learning environment

Mission Statement To be an outstanding Sixth Form College providing high quality education for all Scan the QR code to visit our college website on your mobile


Wirral’s Sixth Form College Best for success With work, training and higher education ever more competitive, choosing where to study post GCSE is a crucial decision. Both students and parents need assurance they will meet supportive, specialist teachers who deliver results. They also expect great facilities – plus a stimulating programme of sport and other enrichment. As Wirral’s best performing sixth form, Birkenhead Sixth Form College offers all this and more besides. In fact as THE sixth form college for the Wirral area, we are part of a great education success story – offering students the proven advantages of a sixth form college education. The evidence speaks for itself. Take a look at the conclusions of recent reports by Southampton University academics, as well as the National Audit Office. Sixth form college students have a greater likelihood of achieving top grades, more A*/A grades and AS passes thanks to:

• More choice of courses and combinations • More specialist teachers – expert in teaching 16-19 year olds • More opportunities to develop in a mature, young adult environment

Birkenhead Sixth Form College. We pave the way to Higher Education, further training and a rewarding career.


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The College Advantage Research proves it. Sixth form college students are:

• More likely to achieve top grades at A Level • 7% more likely to achieve A*/A grades • More likely to pass AS levels This is compared to students at non-selective, school-based sixth forms – taking into account similar subjects, GCSE results, catchment, family incomes, gender and ethnicity. Source: 2012 study by Professor Daniel Muijs and Dr Natasha Rumyantseva, Education School, University of Southampton – as reported in The Times, August 16, 2012

‘Sixth form colleges perform best on most measures of learner achievement’ Source: National Audit Office, ‘Getting value for money from the education of 16 to 18 year olds’, Session 2010 -11



Why choose us A great education is never down to just one factor – but many influences that combine to offer students the very best chance of success. At Birkenhead Sixth Form College we are proud of the opportunities we offer students from right across Wirral in terms of choice, achievement, progression, support and facilities.

Best for CHOICE • The widest choice of A Levels and BTECs in Wirral • Expert guidance to help students match choices with career aspirations • Virtually any course combination – designed around students, not the timetable


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Best for ACHIEVEMENT • 99% pass rate at A Level in 2012 – higher than the Wirral and national average • We outperform 75% of other providers nationally at AS Level • More progress made by students with us than similar students at other sixth forms • Over 25 years’ experience of educating and supporting young people in Wirral

‘The encouragement I get in college is excellent. Help and support is always on offer from teachers and tutors’ – David Tapura

‘99% A Level pass rate – higher than both the Wirral and national average’



Best for SUPPORT • Outstanding help and encouragement every step of the way • Caring teachers who are specialists in teaching 16-19 year olds • Personal Tutors who offer individual guidance • Support throughout the Higher Education application process including visits to Oxbridge and other top universities, dedicated Russell Group advice via a University of Liverpool pilot scheme, plus help with choices and personal statements



• More students go on to university than from any other Wirral sixth form • The perfect stepping stone to Higher Education, further training or a career

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Best for FACILITIES • Dedicated, single-site environment including The Hub – an exciting, university-style integrated learning space over two floors • Brand new facilities opened in 2012 include: - 8SQ student common room area - Humanities building • New additions for September 2013 include: - New Art and Design building - New Science laboratories

Artists impression of Art and Design Building due to open 2013


Course choices We offer all the help and advice you need to choose the best combination of courses for you. Use the results/ choices table below to start moving in the right direction:

Predicted / Actual results

Course choices

5 GCSEs at A* - C (including Maths or English Language)

Level 3 courses - A Levels, BTECs and CACHE qualifications

GCSEs at C – D

Level 2 courses – BTECs and GCSEs

GCSEs at E - F

Please contact the Admissions Team for advice

‘For detailed and up to date information on all subjects and courses visit’


‘All the guidance you need to build the right programme for you’

‘There is a lot of support to help with the jump from GCSE to A Level’ – Amelia Hanna



Level 3 courses

- Advanced Level A Levels, BTECs and CACHE qualifications This illustrates a basic Level 3 pathway. We interview all students and offer places on an individual basis – tailoring a programme that takes into account the individual’s potential and aspirations. We may take BTEC or other vocational qualifications into consideration if achieved at Merit to Distinction*.

University or employment or further education / other higher education course

Year 2: 3 or 4 A2 subjects / BTEC equivalent / CACHE qualifications

Year 1: 4 or 5 AS subjects / BTEC equivalent / CACHE qualifications


ENTRY: 5 separate GCSEs including Maths and/or English Language grades A* - C

‘For detailed and up to date information on all subjects and courses visit’

tel - 0151 652 5575

Choose from the following A Level subjects (AS and A2 including Applied subjects): Art & Design - Fine Art Art & Design - Graphics Art & Design - Textiles Biology Business (Applied) Chemistry Computing Dance Design Technology Drama & Theatre Studies Economics English Language English Language and Literature

English Literature Film Studies French General Studies Geography Government & Politics Health & Social Care History ICT (Applied) Law Mathematics Mathematics - Further Mathematics - Use of (AS Only)

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Media Studies Music Physics Psychology Religious Studies Sociology Spanish Sport and Physical Education

BTEC Level 3 Qualifications

Subsidiary Diploma Diploma

Extended Diploma

Equivalent to:

1 A Level

2 A Levels

3 A Levels

Business Law Medical Science Musical Theatre

Business Health & Social ICT Care * Forensic Science Medical Science Sport

CACHE Level 3 Diploma – Child Care & Education * *These are full-time programmes and include weekly work placements.


Level 2 courses BTECs and GCSE qualifications This illustrates a basic Level 2 pathway. We interview all students and offer places on an individual basis – tailoring a programme that takes into account the individual’s potential and aspirations.

Year 2/3: Level 3 (Advanced Level) study – see pages 12 and 13 for further information

Year 1: BTEC Level 2 Diploma May include GCSE resits (or equivalent courses) in Maths and/or English

ENTRY: GCSEs mostly at grade C or D



BTEC Level 2 Diploma subject areas include: Art & Design Business Health & Social Care ICT

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Scan the QR code to view our courses on your mobile

Media Science Sport

GCSE English


The College reserves the right to place students on an alternative Level 2 qualification in Maths or English. The qualification offered will be appropriate to the student’s level of ability and will be confirmed following a short assessment at the start of term.

‘For detailed and up to date information on all subjects and courses visit’



Stepping stone to university and a rewarding career Birkenhead Sixth Form College is about far more than great teaching and excellent results. Our expert Personal Tutors and careers specialists are on hand to help students develop the skills and confidence they need to prepare for Higher Education and the world of work. Above all we equip students to make the most of their new freedom and independence – to manage learning and plan their time as productively as possible.

‘Over 300 students progress to university from Birkenhead Sixth Form College each year – more than from any other Wirral sixth form’


Full preparation for Higher Education Universities – and their courses – differ hugely. Our Personal Tutors get to know students extremely well and are there to help at all stages of the UCAS application process.

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‘There is a great balance between the freedom of university and the structure of school’ – Alex Wheligan

From information on Open Days and talks from former students, to organised trips to Oxford, Cambridge and other universities, we help students make the best choices to match their ability and ambition. Our pilot mentoring scheme with the University of Liverpool is aimed specifically at inspiring students to progress to a Russell Group University. This is a unique opportunity being offered to our students who will benefit from talks and lectures by university staff and receive expert guidance.

Expert careers advice: one-to-one and online Students wishing to build careers straight after college also benefit from personalised support as part of their tutorial programme and our Careers Portal has software and online exercises covering all aspects of how to apply for jobs and interview techniques.

Access to valuable work experience Work experience is a vital foundation for developing students’ confidence and experience. So we make it an integral component of many A Level and BTEC courses – also encouraging students to take up work shadowing opportunities and voluntary placements on Wednesday afternoons.


Student life We’re the College for people who are going places! Life at Birkenhead Sixth Form College is busy, fun and productive. We work hard and play hard too – offering all the support, facilities, social life and CV-building activities you would expect at Wirral’s top performing inclusive sixth form. Tailored support to fulfil your potential • Personal tutors – who get to know you well, working with you to ensure you make the most of your strengths and your time with us • Weekly tutorials – covering topics such as Higher Education choices, careers, finance, personal safety and current affairs, as well as talks from diverse speakers • Expert Higher Education support – including help with UCAS applications plus access to university talks and open days at Oxbridge and other top universities • Subject enhancement sessions – additional preparation and support in the lead up to exams

High quality IT and other resources • The Hub – open access computers, text books, ebooks, journals, HE/Careers guidance, video wall. All operated by experienced staff • Powerful technology – cross campus Wi-Fi, free access to software at home, individual Virtual Learning Environment, 16 dedicated ICT rooms and 4 IMac suites plus over 600 PCs and iMacs, 400 laptops and netbooks • Single site convenience – with everything in one handy location



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‘College provides a friendly, easy, learning environment that caters for all students’ individual needs. Support is always there if you need it but you’re taught to be independent as well’ – Kasia Chidlow, Head Girl



Great social mix • 8SQ – our student common room, THE place to meet up over coffee or lunch • Students from right across the Wirral – the chance to meet new friends

Exciting CV-building opportunities • Be a Student Ambassador – staff nominate students to represent the College and student body at internal and external events • Apply to be Head Boy or Head Girl – your chance to represent your fellow students • Support fun fundraising events – including Children in Need, Comic Relief, Battle of the Bands, all organised by Student Ambassadors and Head Boy/Head Girl team • Join subject trips – to stimulating, course-relevant destinations • Earn the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award – no previous experience necessary, includes two expeditions to Snowdonia

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• Learn a new skill – anything from British Sign Language to first aid • Join a club – covering debating, film and more • Learn a language – including Mandarin Chinese and other world languages • Be a sport – take up football, rugby, basketball, netball and more • Do a challenge – anything from climbing the Three Peaks to completing an environmental project.

Flying High: our tailored programme for high achievers We fully appreciate the importance of ‘stretch and challenge’’ – offering a comprehensive range of options for high performing students including: • Liverpool University Scholar’s Scheme • Oxbridge opportunities • Extended Project Qualification



Getting to College is easy Birkenhead Sixth Form College is in Claughton Village next to Birkenhead Park. By bus... The College is accessible via an extensive bus network and there are regular buses to and from the College from across Wirral. Details of bus services are available on A shuttle bus service runs each morning from Hamilton Square to the College.

By rail... The College is 10-minute walk from Birkenhead Park station.

By car... The College is a five-minute drive from Birkenhead town centre and is easily accessible from all parts of the Wirral.


‘Each year students join us from schools from all parts of Wirral and beyond’

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Applying to the College Here’s how the application process works: First things first Submit an application form which is available with the prospectus or from the College reception. You can also apply online at

Nice to meet you We hold interview evenings from December onwards. This is a chance to discuss your predicted/actual GCSE results, course choices and recent school reports.

Offer timescale Following your interview, we will get in touch as soon as possible with news of your offer.

Getting to know us To help you settle in quickly after the summer, we invite you to attend our Headstart event for all new students in June/July.

‘Competition for places is high – so apply early to secure the course of your choice’

Open Evenings Find out more at our Open Evenings Open Evenings are a great opportunity to visit the College, meet current students and talk to subject tutors about courses. Do join us on any of the following dates: Wednesday 7th November – 6-8pm Wednesday 5th December – 6-8pm Wednesday 20th March – 6-8pm

Start at College Time for new friends, teachers – and success!



For all enquiries: Telephone: 0151 652 5575 Email: Web: Write/Visit: Park Road West, Claughton, Wirral, CH43 8SQ

Make a date to experience the College at an Open Evening • Wednesday 7th November – 6-8pm • Wednesday 5th December – 6-8pm • Wednesday 20th March – 6-8pm Visit for up-to-date Open Evening information or call us on 0151 652 5575.

Scan the QR code to visit our college website on your mobile

Scan the QR code to download our Birkenhead Sixth Form College App

Entry Prospectus 2013