Rochdale Sixth Form College

Rochdale Sixth Form College is a Sixth Form College opened in September 2010. The Sixth Form College campus is situated next to Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England, forming an educational quarter in the town. Rochdale is the first sixth form college to be opened in the UK since 2004, and the 93rd sixth form college in the country. The college is a member of the Sixth Form College Association (SFCA), founder of the Student Union of Celebration and Co-operation (SUCC), and the Association of Colleges (AoC).

Rochdale Sixth Form College
Rochdale Sixth Form College Logo.png
College Road

, ,
OL12 6HY

Coordinates53°37′02″N 2°09′49″W / 53.6171°N 2.1637°W / 53.6171; -2.1637Coordinates: 53°37′02″N 2°09′49″W / 53.6171°N 2.1637°W / 53.6171; -2.1637
TypeSixth form college
Established1 September 2010
Local authorityRochdale
Department for Education URN135659 Tables
PrincipalRichard Ronksley
Age16 to 18


From the 1970s to the 1990s, most secondary schools in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale offered sixth form education such as A-levels to school leavers. In addition, Hopwood Hall College also offered a provision of sixth form courses to students.

By the 2000s, sixth form students studying in Rochdale Borough were achieving below the national average in terms of A Level results. As well as this, many local school leavers were opting to study sixth form education at schools or colleges outside of Rochdale borough, particularly at dedicated sixth form colleges in nearby areas such as Bury and Oldham.[1] In a local area review of post-16 education in Rochdale in 2004, the Learning and Skills Council proposed the construction of a new sixth form college in Rochdale borough. Rochdale's MP, Paul Rowen, along with local student, Sajid Suleman, launched a campaign in 2006 for a new sixth form college in Rochdale to stop the "brain drain".[2][3] After funding for the new college became available, the Department for Children, Schools and Families formally approved the construction of the new college in August 2008.[4] The Founding Principal Julian Appleyard OBE was appointed in December 2008. The Chair of the Governing Body is Dame Pamela Coward, former headteacher of Middleton Technology School.

The £26 million new sixth form college campus was subsequently constructed next to Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale town.[5] Rochdale Sixth Form College opened in September 2010, and is now the primary provider of sixth form education in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale. Since the opening of the college, most (but not all) secondary schools in the borough have ceased to offer sixth form courses for students. Hopwood Hall College has also discontinued its provision of A-levels, concentrating instead on offering vocational further education for school leavers, as well as courses for adult learners.


Opened in September 2010, Rochdale Sixth Form College offers a range of A-level courses to students from Rochdale and the wider borough. Facilities at the college campus include a theatre, learning resource and study centre, ICT suites, science laboratories, a theatre and drama studio, a specialist dance studio, a music recording studio and editing suite, specialist art and design studios, a restaurant, a coffee house, a fitness suite and a multi-faith prayer room.

The first set of academic results by the College were in the top 5% of all sixth form institutions in the UK in value added terms. The College received national coverage for this performance. In the same year the College Principal was the key note speaker at a number of sixth form national conferences and continues to feature leading sessions on post 16 leadership at national conferences.

The College continues to make the headlines for its academic performance. The A Level results showed a 99% pass rate and value added for AS Level place it in the top 1% of sixth forms in the country. The College featured very prominently in the Department for Education League Tables in February 2013 where it was number two out of 93 sixth form colleges in the UK in terms of value added. The College had its first OFSTED inspection in March 2013 and received the result of being an outstanding college, one of only two sixth form colleges nationally to be awarded the outstanding status under the rigorous new inspection framework.

The College goes from strength to strength and now has national acclaim. The College made history in January 2016 being the first placed college for the third consecutive year in the Department for Education Performance tables for A level progress. The College is a designated National Support School and the former Principal Julian Appleyard a National Leader in Education (NLE). The former College Principal Julian Appleyard was awarded an OBE for Services to Education in the 2016 Queens Birthday Honours List


  1. ^ "Rochdale News | News Headlines | Number of A-Level students justifies need for Rochdale sixth form college". Rochdale Online. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  2. ^ McMullan, Dan (28 August 2006). "'Stop brain drain so town can make grade'". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media.
  3. ^ "Rochdale News | News Headlines | Time to end brain drain says Rochdale MP". Rochdale Online. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Rochdale News | News Headlines | Rochdale Sixth Form College gets go ahead". Rochdale Online. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Rochdale News | News Headlines | Rochdale Sixth Form College links with leading universities". Rochdale Online. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2012.