Winstanley is Sixth Form College of The Year!

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Winstanley is Sixth Form College of The Year!


Winstanley College student achievement: consistently excellent

The years pass and times change, but Winstanley College’s performance remains truly outstanding.

Winstanley College is delighted to win the Sixth Form College of the Year in The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2012 for consistently achieving excellent A-level results over a long period of time.

The report highlights the fact that Winstanley are A-level specialists with the expertise to deliver consistent academic excellence with large numbers of students drawn from a wide area.

Top exam grades among the best in the country!

Students at Winstanley College have gained the best rate of A and A* grades in the country! A whopping 39.8% of our students achieved this result, way above the national average of 26.6% and at a time when these top grades have fallen for the first time for decades.

This outstanding performance is a partnership between staff and students with a simple aim –to bring out the best in every student at Winstanley both in academic achievement and in personal development. That means the best possible exam results, developing personal skills needed for later life and having the opportunity of a massive range of extracurricular activities that is second to none.

For all of our students, including those with the highest GCSE grades, Winstanley has the expertise, facilities and experience in supporting applications to the country’s top universities, including Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities. More than 400 students progress each year to the most sought after universities, more than any other college in the North West.

Principal, Jo Bailey, is understandably delighted with the award and our consistently excellent academic performance: “Our staff teach in specialist areas so they become expert in what they’re delivering. Very many of them are examiners, so they really do know how A-levels work. Sixth Forms are the perfect stepping stone for a student having achieved their GCSEs at 16 and wanting to take the next step towards independence”.

Students have 40 subjects to choose from at Winstanley and the college guarantees to timetable whatever combination they select.

And Jo is proud of Winstanley students. “They are the best advert for young people that you could find,” she says. “They are down-to-earth, they are full of enthusiasm, they’re so talented and skilled, and they are grasping the opportunities presented to them with both hands. They’ve come here to learn and, as far as they’re concerned, learning is the best thing you can do. They want to travel, they want to help other people. They really are quite a remarkable bunch.”

Students are committed to the college from the start and Bailey says they have a strong sense of belonging. “We put them in different groups for their subjects and tutor groups, and they all blend in and quickly see themselves very much as Winstanley students.”

A passion for learning

Many Winstanley students have a strong desire to stretch themselves beyond the demands of A-level. Winstanley has a fantastic record of helping students gain a place at university to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science with 123 students currently studying on these courses at the moment. Winstanley has great success in preparing students for Oxbridge; currently there are 47 students there. In all subjects, there are opportunities for students to challenge themselves by doing something extra. Winstanley students can also study a topic of their choice for the Extended Project Qualification, excellent for those who want to stretch themselves and enjoy being challenged. The EPQ develops the ability to work independently providing vital skills to help with applications to universities.  

Performance 2012

  • Winstanley has consistently been one of the top 6th form colleges in academic league tables over a long period of time for large numbers of students
  • Around a quarter of students achieve 3 or more A grades.
  • Over one in 3 Winstanley students gain either an A* or A, well above the national average
  • A record 39.8% of students achieved A or A*, well above the national average of 26.6%.
  • 11.2% of grades awarded were A*s
  • 218 students achieved 3 grade As or better
  • 89.1% of students gained either an A*, A or B in the Extended Project, widely regarded by the best universities as important
  • 63% of Art Foundation students achieved a distinction (national average 16%)


  • 47 at Oxbridge at the moment

Medics, dentists and vets

  • 123 students currently studying on these courses

Prestigious universities

  • Currently over 1400 students (Oxbridge, Russell Group and 1994 Group)

What the inspectors say about academic performance 

  • Achievement and standards are outstanding.
  • Success rates are exceptionally high and have been so for a number of years.
  • The college is outstanding in meeting the academic needs and interests of its students. It offers a broad range of A-levels, and students are encouraged to be ambitious with their choice.
  • Teaching and learning are outstanding.
  • Students make excellent progress.
  • Teachers are very enthusiastic and students enjoy their lessons. Ofsted

What the Inspectors say about our support 

  • outstanding personal development of students to become independent learners
  • outstanding guidance and comprehensive personal and academic support
  • highly effective additional learning support
  • students’ personal development is exceptional and they quickly acquire useful independent learning skills. Ofsted    
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