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St Ambrose Barlow Sixth Form pupils getting ready for their new courses

The new academic year is off to a great start at Salford’s fastest growing sixth form, St Ambrose Barlow Sixth Form, marking the start of new A Level provision for the young people of Salford.

The very first A Level cohort have been enjoying their first week at the college and are getting stuck in to the new courses on offer.

In previous years only BTEC courses were available at St Ambrose Barlow but this year a whole range of A Level subjects are available, alongside BTEC’s, enabling students to access the courses they want on their doorstep.

The college allows students to follow a course of A Levels or mix and match them with single award BTEC courses, enabling more flexibility and allowing each student to create a combination of subjects that is just right for them.

Head of Sixth Form Peter Paize said: “We are delighted to welcome so many students into our Sixth Form this year from both from our own former Year 11 and a mix of other local schools. Offering A Level courses alongside our original BTEC programme means we now have something to meet the needs of all students, to facilitate their next steps for the future and get them to where they want to be whether that is on to university, employment or an apprenticeship.

“It is great that we are able to extend the outstanding tuition and support available in the high school to our post 16 learners, and that this provision is right here on their doorstep in Salford.”

St. Ambrose Sixth Form originally opened its doors in 2012 as a vocational centre. It has enjoyed very good results and has seen 100% of its students go into higher education, further training or employment.

However, in recent years uptake had been low so last July the decision was taken to expand the curriculum and attract more students.

This September approximately 90 students have started in Year 12 and over 20 courses are on offer.

“We felt a very strong responsibility to the local community to offer A levels and BTECs so that they did not have to travel to realise their potential and ambitions”, says Ben Davis, Headteacher. “The development of the Sixth form has been incredibly hard work and has entailed some risk, but it has been a wonderful team effort as well.

Local people have been very supportive and fellow Head teachers across Salford have been very active in encouraging their Year 11 pupils to apply, so it is pleasing to see students in Year 12 from six different schools.

We are thrilled to be a fully-fledged 11 – 19 comprehensive and look forward to seeing our new Sixth formers head off to universities, colleges and jobs in two years’ time. There’s a very bright future here: we’re proud of our unique status as a Catholic Sixth form college in Salford that offers a welcome to all.”​

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SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.