New College Pontefract named the best in the country

New College Pontefract has been named as the ‘best of the best’ after picking up a national award among the country’s elite schools and colleges.

Thursday, 12th November 2020, 4:45 pm

The Park Lane college landed the title of top sixth-form in the TES Further Education (FE) Awards, regarded as the most prestigious in the industry.

And there was a double celebration after being chosen as the most deserving of the top prize of Overall Further Education Provider of the Year from all of the night’s winners.

It is the first time in the TES FE awards that a sixth-form college has landed the coveted title

A class act....celebrations at New College.

Vicky Marks, New College’s principal, said: “This is a huge honour.

“I am genuinely running out of superlatives to describe the significance of this award to us.

“To be identified as the best of the best from the hundreds of providers, across so many different sectors in post-16 education, is the greatest award that the college has ever received.”

Richard Fletcher, CEO of the college’s parent trust, the New Collaborative Learning Trust, was equally thrilled by the double award haul.

He said: “The award reflects the immense hard work of every single person in the college.

“Every staff member, teaching or non-teaching, has played a key role in getting the college to where we are today.

“The support of our board of directors, our parents and the wider community has also been key in helping us become the leaders in our sector we are today.

“I also want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Pauline Hagen OBE, who played a pivotal role in establishing the Trust and securing its future.”

New College had been short listed in 2015 but missed out on award.

They were then told they had been short listed again earlier this year as one of eight hopefuls.

The finalists included colleges in Brighton, Birmingham and Durham.

The TES judges were full of praise for the work New College Pontefract had achieved over the past five years since their last inclusion on the list, including the creation of New College Doncaster and New College Bradford.

The judge said the college was doing a “truly extraordinary job” in the education it offers to teenagers.

They added: “The college is making a real difference to young people across three communities both in and outside of the classroom.

“It has a broad intake of students, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is showing others what it means to be a sixth form in modern times.

“New College Pontefract is taking on a system leadership role within its sector and is a shining example of what every college should be aiming to achieve.”

Opened in 1987 as North East Wakefield (NEW) College on the site of the old Pontefract Girls’ High School, it one of the first colleges to convert to an academy status.

Its standing continued to improve and following an inspection by the education watchdog in 2014, it achieved an ‘outstanding’ mark.

In 2018-19, it achieved an A-level performance system grade 2 in both A-level and applied general provision, recording a 100 per cent pass rate in both.

The college also achieved its best-ever high-grade rates: 60 per cent at A level and 90 per cent in applied general courses.