1. Research on SSFC
Founded in 1974, The Sixth Form College, Solihull is a further education college for students aged 16-
19. The establishment is situated on the outskirts of Solihull, Southern-West Midlands and draws
students from across Solihull and South Birmingham. The current head Paul Ashdown has reigned
the college for 5 years.
Currently the college recruits from the borough of Solihull and South Birmingham; with a total of
2,200 students taking full times courses. The majority of enrolments are A-level enrolments in the
areas of Mathematics, Languages, Literature and Culture.
Historically The Sixth Form College, Solihull has a high pass rate in all it subjects, due to the strict
entry requirements set by the college and a high standard of teaching. The pass rate and succession
onto university is above the national average significantly and Ofsted reports are often in the Good
More than a quarter of the students here are of ethnic minority; which is well above the figure for
the local residencies. These students come in from Birmingham where ethnic minorities take up to
32% of the population.
The college has produced many talented students, and many of them go on to reap success in later
life. There are 3 actresses who have come from the college; ShefaliChowdhury, Lucy Davis and
Elizabeth Bower. Also the current CEO of sainsburys Justin King studied at the college.
A levels are the main choice of enrolment for the majority of students. At the heart of this there are
the core subjects; English and Literature, Mathematics and the Sciences. There are also various
languages taught including French, Spanish and German. There are many Post-GCSE courses
including IT, Music, History and IT. Also new subjects such as photography have been introduced to
add spectrum to the selection.
Level 3 BTEC’s are also offered at the college; they have dropped Media of late, and now focus of
their business, science and IT. They also offer and Art & Design BTEC as well as Health & Social Care
and Sport. They now intertwine the business academies with the BTEC’s this will be discussed in
Enrichment has been a fundamental part of college since greater competition for university
appeared. There are many types of enrichment, all with different benefits. There are three
enrichment courses that boost UCAS points; these are General Studies, Extended Project and Critical
Thinking. General Studies has been a long standing course that studies general topics in life; it is a
course about general knowledge and application. Extended project is a course where you design and
create anything, appropriate with nothing but a short briefing from the teacher. This course
encourages independency and that is something valued highly by universities. Critical Thinking is a
course that tests thought reaction, and teaches you to deal with certain emergencies. This is geared
more toward medical students, as they do focus on doctor-like situations. They also have AQA
Bacaularette, which is equivalent to 6 A levels. Finally there are sport enrichments, these are for
talented sportsmen/women who want to compete at a college level, and this is a nice addition to a
2. Organisational Structure:
The college follows an organised structure to which it effectively deals with the running of the
establishment. There are a number of layers each with their own managerial role, as well a
responsibility to look after a certain area of the college.
The Board are at the very top, constructed of councillors and governors their best interests lie with
the college, and their role is to appoint the necessary head. The board are also in charge of hearing
and judging college students who are up for exile, the board have to give a decision whether certain
pupils who have reached the top of the disciplinary ladder deserve another chance.
The Head is known as the Principal within the college and he is responsible for the running of that
college. He has to manage two vice principals, and he is the external face for the college. Whilst he
does not teach classes any more, he does develop student relations by working with gifted and
talented pupils as well as patrolling corridors being friendly to other pupils. He is also a governer for
Coventry University and has built strong relations between the college and university creating a
partnership. Students have added advantages when moving from this college to that university such
as first choice for accommodation, and first choice for internal jobs at university.
Two Vice Principals work under the head. Their primary jobs are to take instruction from the head
and to work with Learning division leaders. They are also responsible of acting as head in case of
emergency, or the head has taken holiday.
Under them there are division heads, divisions look after certain subject areas and are often experts
from within that field. They are responsible for dealing with students wishes, in terms of subject
transfer/dropping/taking, they are also in charge of heading the progress and spending budgets in
Directors of learning and student support staff may teach as well as having this job. They are there
to assist students outside of the classroom with whatever issues they may have. Directors of learning
assist with UCAS applications and interview preparation.
Student Bodies and Committees:
The Student Council are the body in charge of promoting student welfare and wellbeing. They gather
in congress and work together to try and make life better for the students at college. They consist of
a Chair, Treasurer, Events Officer, Charities Officer and student voice officer. Together they cover all
aspects of student welfare and work together to try and improve the sixth form experience.
Also there are student support staffs such as JagdevJagdev who talk personally to students with
concerns as he tries to resolve issues. He keeps all talks confidential and his informal approach
allows him to relate to students and it encourages students to open up about their issues. Neil
Attwell works alongside Jagdev and he looks to improve the students experiences by organising trips
and days out; such as university open days and museum visits.
There’s also a social network system employed by the college, they have an admin on Facebook who
posts information about upcoming events as well as replying to students’ question. Council
members are form representatives and often bring suggestions from their forms in hope to create a
better environment for students.
There is a large learning centre with more than 30,000 resources, including books, DVDs, Computers
and scanners. The library has a backdrop of parkland; it provides a tranquil setting for study.There
are also dedicated facilities for different subject areas; the sciences have designated labs which
provide an optimum environment for practical work.They also have full chemical sets as well as
protective equipment and industry standard chemistry equipment.
There are modern dance studios and theatres, they feature full sized stages as well as draw curtains,
props and rope for hanging patterns. There is a state of the art new arts and design building, which
hosts art based subjects and has art equipment as well as fully decked Mac Pc’s.
Standard classrooms boast projector screens and interactive boards to enhance student learning as
well as creating a more efficient teaching medium. The English and Media department hosts 22
computers just in the main corridor, as well as Mac Pc’s in the media Labs.
There is also a refectory has a food court which serves both hot and cold food, it also has a coffee
bar as well as an internet café. Also situated in the food court is a kiosk which is used by outside
visitors offering services such as free STI tests and student discount cards.
Overall the college provides a great learning environment and clearly cares about its students. It has
a well-established history and continues to produce high standards of work, as well as creating great
organisations within its walls. The current principle knows how to run the college well and will
continue to have a successful term at this college. This is all well reflected in the college’s league
standings and Ofsted reports as well as high pass rates.