Brighton, Hove & Sussex VI Form College students go on to do well at universities

Sixth form college in a class of its own

ABOVE AND BEYOND: Brighton, Hove & Sussex VI Form College

PRINCIPAL: Chris Thomson

First published in News by , Reporter

STUDENTS from a city sixth-form college are outperforming the country’s top independent school pupils when they get to university.

A huge 85% of former Brighton, Hove & Sussex VI Form College (BHASVIC) students gained first-class or upper second-class degrees at Russell Group universities – and 82% across all universities.

These figures are 10% higher than for those from independent schools nationwide and 9% above the sixth-form sector.

Worryingly for independent schools, 8% of their former pupils were leaving university with an unclassified qualification – meaning they had either dropped out or not received honours. Only 1% of BHASVIC students suffered the same fate.

Principal Chris Thomson said: “We are doing very, very well.

“But the thing that struck me is the number of unclassified degrees coming from independent schools. Who knows why that is, but I have a hunch that it’s because pupils at independent schools are pressured by their parents to get into the top universities.

“The school will be over their shoulders making sure they get the work done to achieve that, but then once they get to university, all of a sudden they’ve got nobody watching over them.

Opposite sex “Even away from the studying, some independent school students are not prepared to cope with cooking because the portions have all been given to them in the past.

“And some will be dealing with the opposite sex for the first time, too, so they can go off the rails that way.

“We feel we prepare students much better to study and live independently, and that’s reflected in the results. We’re really proud of the work we do with the local universities.”

Mr Thomson added that BHASVIC’s specialism in A-Levels, as one of only 93 exclusive sixth-form colleges in the country, is key to their success.

The statistics also revealed that 11% of students who attended university from state schools did not complete their second year.

The national figures, gathered by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, are for the 2011/12 academic year.

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