England’s sixth form and further education colleges are among the most significant engines of social mobility as measured by the number of 16-18 year olds eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) progressing to Higher Education. This contribution needs to be recognised and valued if we are serious about promoting social mobility when FSM students are still progressing to HE at less than half the rate of non-FSM students.
Based on government destination data for 2012, just 25 sixth form providers account for over 20% of the total number of FSM students progressing to university for England. As there are over 2,500 sixth form providers in England, this means that less than 1% of institutions provide more than 20% of all FSM students who progress to university.
Of these top 25 sixth forms, 13 are sixth form colleges, 10 are further education colleges, 1 is a sixth form centre and 1 is a school. 15 of the 25 are in London. As a group, they have an average progression rate for FSM students which is 12% above the national average and all but two of them are themselves above average.
Area reviews of post-16 provision across England have now started and they will be seeking to evaluate the contribution of colleges to their local communities including the promotion of social mobility. This measure of their success must surely be one useful key indicator to inform their work.
|Sixth form||% FSM
|Newham sixth form college (NewVIc)||63%||265|
|City and Islington college||60%||246|
|Leyton sixth form college||64%||179|
|Birmingham Metropolitan college||40%||172|
|Sir George Monoux college||60%||156|
|Joseph Chamberlain sixth form college||55%||127|
|Salford City college||49%||113|
|Westminster Kingsway college||61%||104|
|St Francis Xavier sixth form college||74%||104|
|The Manchester college||46%||101|
|Luton sixth form college||63%||101|
|Tower Hamlets college||57%||97|
|Christ The King sixth form college||64%||96|
|Oldham sixth form college||64%||96|
|Ealing, Hammersmith & West London college||52%||94|
|Bolton sixth form college||53%||90|
|Brooke House (BSix) sixth form college||64%||90|
|Sir John Cass school||68%||82|
|Haringey sixth form centre||66%||79|
|Havering sixth form college||65%||72|
|Top 25 sixth forms for FSM progression||57%||2,922|
London’s engines of mobility (October 2015)
NewVIc breaks all its university progression records (September 2015)
Russell group numbers soar in Newham (August 2015)
From free school meals to university (April 2015)