Sixth form college

Sixth form college

A sixth form college is an educational institution in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong or Malta where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels.

In England and Wales, education is only compulsory until the end of their fifth year, the school year in which the pupil turns 16 (although this is changing in September 2013). In the English and Welsh state educational systems, those wishing to continue may either stay on at a secondary school with an attached sixth form, transfer to a local sixth form college, or go to a more vocational further education college, although, depending on geographical location, there may be little choice as to which of these options can be taken. In the independent sector, sixth forms are an integral part of secondary schools (public schools).

Students at sixth form college typically study for two years (known as Years 12 and 13, Years 13 and 14 in Northern Ireland and/or lower sixth and upper sixth). Many students sit AS exams at the end of the first year, and A-level exams at the end of the second. In addition, in recent years a variety of vocational courses have been added to the curriculum.

There are currently over 90 sixth form colleges in operation in England and Wales. Most perform extremely well in national examination league tables. In addition, they offer a broader range of courses at a lower cost per student than most school sixth forms.

Scotland does not, in general, have separate sixth form colleges (or, indeed, the same concept of the terminal two years of secondary education as being distinct from the other time spent there); as such, Scottish students who opt to remain in full-time education will typically remain in the same school for fifth, and possibly a sixth year (the equivalent to the English lower- and upper-sixth forms), studying Higher Grade and Advanced Higher qualifications.


The first comprehensive intake sixth form colleges in England were established at the end of the 1960s and have since proved popular with students, their parents, and other groups in the community. Until 1992, these colleges were controlled and funded by local education authorities (LEAs), but the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992 transferred all institutions within the sector to the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC), a national agency with strategic responsibility for the operation of general further education (FE) colleges. Later the FEFC's functions were taken over by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), a reorganisation that included changes in the funding and supervision of sixth form colleges. Sixth form colleges take responsibility for their own employment, pensions and pay arrangements with the support and advice of the Sixth Form College Forum (SFCF). The Forum is made up of representative principals from SFCs across the UK. The Forum or Council, sets up several Committees to deliver its range of support services for SFCs as well as facilitating lobbying work with Central Government. Colleges for the most part do not charge full-time daytime students; however, adult students (most of whom attend evening classes) may have to pay a fee (for exams, tutors' time and other costs).


In Wales, sixth form education falls under the remit of the Welsh Assembly, and sixth form colleges are sources of further education alongside FE Colleges and sixth forms integrated into secondary schools. They typically offer the Welsh Baccalaureate and Key Skills qualifications.

ee also

*Junior College in Singapore
*Junior College (the equivalent in the Indian Education System)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sixth-form college — sixthˈ form college noun A school which provides the sixth form education for the pupils of an area • • • Main Entry: ↑six * * * ˌsixth form ˈcollege [sixth form college sixth form colleges] noun (in Britain) a schoo …   Useful english dictionary

  • sixth form college — UK US noun [countable] [singular sixth form college plural sixth form colleges] a school in England or Wales for students between the ages of 16 and 18 that offers a level courses Thesaurus …   Useful english dictionary

  • sixth-form college — ► NOUN Brit. ▪ a college for pupils in their final years of secondary education, starting at the age of 16 …   English terms dictionary

  • sixth form college — sixth form .college n a type of school in Britain for students who are preparing to take ↑A levels (=the highest level of school exams) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sixth form college — noun count a school in England or Wales for students between the ages of 16 and 18 …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sixth form college — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms sixth form college : singular sixth form college plural sixth form colleges a school in England or Wales for students between the ages of 16 and 18 that offers a level courses …   English dictionary

  • sixth-form college — noun Brit. a college for pupils in their final years of secondary education, starting at the age of 16 …   English new terms dictionary

  • sixth-form college — ➡ further education * * * …   Universalium

  • sixth form college — noun (C) a type of school in Britain for students over the age of 16 …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College — Coordinates: 52°43′59.47″N 1°12′30.92″W / 52.7331861°N 1.2085889°W / 52.7331861; 1.2085889 …   Wikipedia

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