Esher Sixth Form College
About the school
Esher Sixth Form College is an extremely successful, non-selective Sixth Form College situated in Thames Ditton, near Hampton Court, Surrey.
We are one of the few colleges in the country to achieve ‘Outstanding’ in all areas of our last two full Ofsted inspections and were awarded Beacon Status in 2005. We have a reputation for delivering exceptional results and pride ourselves on creating a friendly and dynamic atmosphere for all students and staff.
Esher Sixth Form College has over 1,900 full-time students and 500 part-time (adult) enrolments attending in the evening. During the day we specialise in 16-19 education where we have an unusual pattern of student recruitment. Good communication links mean that students travel to the College from a wide area. Although we have partnerships with our local schools, we draw on over 100 schools for our intake – from both the state and independent sectors, from inner and outer London, most of Surrey, and occasionally from other counties.
The diversity of students has a positive impact on the health of the College, making it a friendly and lively place to work and study. The College remains an extremely popular option for post-16 study, with student demand often outstripping our ability to supply.
Our core full-time provision covers a full range of A level and BTEC courses, as well as a small number of GCSE subjects. All students take level 3 courses as part of their study programme. Every student also takes a diverse range of enrichment courses, including the Personal Development Programme, the Extended Project Qualification, work experience, sport, drama and other extension courses.
We aim to provide a curriculum for students which is broad, balanced and coherent, and to ensure successful progression to university or work. As a rule, about 90% of our students go on to University and data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency demonstrates that our students go on to be high achievers at degree level.
The College is firmly rooted in the community it serves and we offer a highly successful and ever-expanding programme of evening and weekend courses for adults, focused on local community needs. We also hire out our modern facilities to local clubs and organisations.
We have a reputation for high quality academic performance which is borne out by the latest examination results. Our A level pass rate for 2019 was 99.3%, with 57.2% of entries awarded A*- B. With some equally outstanding BTEC outcomes, our students are able to take advantage of a wide range of progression opportunities. These impressive results are achieved in the context of deliberately inclusive entry requirements – our intake is more mixed than one might anticipate and we maintain a genuine open-access policy, without any selection criteria, beyond the relatively modest, minimum entry requirements. Our last Ofsted inspection was in May 2008 and we were awarded Grade 1: Outstanding for all areas inspected; a wonderful accolade for the College. Our students have continued to achieve at the highest levels, and, as a result, we have not been subject to Ofsted inspection since 2008, as Outstanding colleges are (for the time being) legally exempt from inspection so long as there is no dip in performance.
Key strengths of the College, identified by Ofsted, include:
- Very good progress of students
- Outstanding teaching and learning
- Outstanding extension and enrichment activities
- Very good facilities and resources
- Strong commitment to equality of opportunity
Beyond the Academic
Most teaching staff are personal tutors in a ‘horizontal’ year group structure. We have strong support processes to monitor student progress and to provide careful guidance to individual students when needed. The students run a very effective Student Union which organises many events, some purely social, many raising funds for charity. We have our own registered charity to support Aids orphans in Africa. We have a team of staff who are trained counsellors and who provide an expert level of advice for students with personal problems, as well as two College Nurses. We also have a learning support team which assists students who need extra help in improving their learning skills and supporting those with particular learning needs. Many excellent teachers have moved on to posts of responsibility after ‘cutting their teeth’ with us.
Facilities and Accommodation
The College’s facilities and accommodation are some of the best available in the area, the product of a long term Campus Development Plan. There are specialist facilities for all subjects, with IT access and projectors in every room, two large Learning Resource Centres, including a library and extensive computer access, a Theatre, Drama Studio and a College café for students to relax in. We have a large Sports Hall, where staff and students have free access to an on-site gym. We are also fortunate in having a large, landscaped campus, with tennis courts and playing fields.
The College currently employs some 200 staff, with an approximate 2:1 split between teaching and support functions, mostly on permanent contracts. Relationships across the staffing structure are very good, being supportive and friendly, with encouragement given to colleagues to contribute to a variety of local, regional and national initiatives.
The College is located in Thames Ditton, with Hampton Court Palace and the River Thames close by, and within easy access of the A3 and the M25. Thames Ditton train station is only a 2 minute walk from Esher College.