It’s a great result for students at Bede Sixth Form

There’s been plenty to celebrate at Billingham’s Bede Sixth Form College this results day.

All the hard work paid off as Bede students achieved a 99% A level pass rate, with 100% success in 16 subjects, and more students achieving the highest grades.

Bede Sixth Form College

“It is incredible to see our learners doing so well and getting the results they deserve, particularly following the challenges they have faced in recent years,” said Bede’s acting principal Patrick Jordan.

“This is the first time these students have undertaken the formal national examination process, and they have shown massive resilience and produced a strong set of results here at Bede that they should be massively proud of.”

Results day success included high grades of A* to B up almost 5% at the college compared to pre-covid results, and 7% of Bede students this summer achieved an A*, the highest possible grade.

All of this comes just weeks after Bede, a part of the Education Training Collective, achieved a ‘Good’ Ofsted result with ‘Outstanding’ features, including leadership and management, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and education programmes for young people.

The sixth form also recently announced a £2.4m construction project to expand its facilities, increasing capacity for an additional 200 students, with nine new classrooms and breakout spaces.

Bede currently delivers a wider range of A level and A level equivalent subjects, along with full-time study options in sport and public services, to more than 700 students.

For the class of 2022 many will now head off to their first-choice universities, apprenticeships, and future goals.

Patrick, a former Bede student himself, said: “Against a backdrop of disruption and uncertainty for all young people over the last few years, this is a really solid set of results that will now set our students up for their future choices. We look forward to seeing all that they now go on to achieve.”

Education Training Collective rated Ofsted ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features

High praise from Ofsted is another great result for the colleges, students and staff, that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

In its first full inspection since the merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College, the group, which also includes Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy (Billingham), has been rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features.

Ofsted principals 2022

The report, published today, describes a college group where students are “very proud to study” and they benefit from “a strong culture of positive respect”.

Group principal and chief executive, Phil Cook, said: “As a group our aim, above all else, is to provide high quality local colleges for local people. Gaining outstanding for leadership and management is a fantastic accolade for the group, but also and importantly for those stakeholders we work with; you do not achieve outstanding without excellent partnerships that have a direct impact on our students learning.”

The college group was also rated ‘Outstanding’ for behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and education programmes for young people, and rated ‘Good’ in all other areas. Phil added: “It is reasonable for parents, stakeholders and our communities to assume our provision for young people is now outstanding, as that’s what Ofsted has said and that is brilliant news. For other aspects of our provision such as our apprenticeships and our work with adults and high needs students, Ofsted has commended us and again our communities can be assured that such services are judged as being really really good.”

It also marks a milestone for Redcar and Cleveland College. The college had previously received an inadequate rating before merger, but in the view of Ofsted has been “transformed” and is now considered “the college of first choice” for many young people living in the borough.

Preparing to hand over the reins later this year, after nine years leading the college group, Phil said: “To deliver the service our communities deserve takes hard work and determination, from our staff, leaders, governing body and, of course, our amazing students, not least as we faced the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

“That’s why it is fantastic to now see our incredible teams, across the group, and our partners, receive external recognition.”

Inspectors also recognised the support that learners, of all ages and abilities, receive and the enrichment programme that “helps them to develop their wider employability skills, confidence, and resilience.”

There was further praise for the curriculum, which is shaped to meet local economy and skill demands while, working with specialist providers, the group is able to offer a “niche provision” giving people access to local jobs that would normally be out of reach.

The report said: “Students and apprentices benefit from useful and relevant training in their local communities which meets the needs of employers and the priorities of the local enterprise partnership.”

This has resulted in exciting projects in the pipeline, further supporting their local communities, such as the addition of Redcar’s Clean Energy Education Hub, plans to extend facilities at NETA Training and developments at Bede.

Chairman of the Etc. governing board, Mark White OBE DL, said: “As a board of governors we welcome this Ofsted result which is testament to the commitment of all our teams and the work they do to deliver for our communities.”

Retiring in the summer after 27 years on the boards of the colleges that make up the Etc., culminating in his current role as chair, Mark added: “I am extremely proud to have been a part of this incredible group of colleges, of everything it has achieved and everything it will go on to achieve in the future.”

Bede Sixth Form announces a £2.4m construction project making space for up to 200 more students

Bede Sixth Form College will soon be able to open its doors to more school leavers as the college announces exciting plans to expand its facilities in Billingham.

The £2.4m development will incorporate a new three-storey facility on Marsh House Avenue, increasing capacity for a further 200 students, including nine classrooms and breakout spaces.


The development will be funded, in part, by the Department for Education’s Post-16 Capacity Fund, in response to an expected demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds.

For Bede, which is part of the Education Training Collective (Etc.) alongside NETA Training Group, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, it will also respond to the recent rise in applications from students wanting to study at the college.

“This welcome investment in our facilities will not only enable us to accommodate more students, but it will also give us the space to create new and innovative learning environments, specifically designed to meet key-sector skill demands,” said Education Training Collective group principal and chief executive, Phil Cook.

“This is not just good news for the college and our students but also for Billingham and the wider community as it will give us a bespoke state-of-the-art facility, transforming the post-16 teaching and learning experience for our young people.”

The new 700 square metre facility will be designed to complement the existing building whilst providing a self-contained learning space for 16 to 19-year-old students with a particular interest in the science and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as creative subjects such as media and art and design.  To support this focus there will be a dedicated entrance for these learners.

Phil said: “We will also be able to offer more collaborative workspaces to further develop our students’ independent learning skills and a bespoke health and wellbeing space.”

With work due to start in the summer, he added: “The construction area will be self-contained and therefore should cause minimal disruption to our existing students and those joining the college this September.”

Aspirations for future developments could incorporate dedicated health science suites, industry spec laboratories designed alongside sector employers and a mini viewing cinema.

Councillor Lisa Evans, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “This is brilliant news for young people in the Borough. We want them all to be educated in modern buildings designed to support their studies and the sixth form’s increased capacity will bring more opportunities for them to learn new skills in a purpose-built, inspirational space.

“It’s so important that we help young people reach their potential from early years through to further education. Their learning environment is a major part of that, so this expansion will be a real asset for local students and the wider community.”

Bede Sixth Form College has already seen a recent upsurge of applications due to what the group principal describes as the college’s unique curriculum offer and sector-led enrichment opportunities, along with an increased focus on students’ health and wellbeing through its Institute of Sport and Education (ISE) and the introduction of a 10am start time.

Phil continued: “The new facility will now enable us to continue to meet that increasing demand while offering all our students an even greater environment in which to study and learn.  It’s fantastic for school leavers to have this sort of facility on their doorstep.”

With the intention to open doors to the new facility in early 2023, Bede Sixth Form College is grateful for the support of the Department for Education, the council and employer partners that continue to recognise and support the success achieved by students and staff.

Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart, said: “It is vital every young person has the opportunity to access high quality technical education.

“This investment will boost capacity so there is a place for every 16 to 19-year-old, giving them access to the cutting-edge facilities that will give them the skills they need for fantastic careers.”

Ofsted gets a virtual insight into life at Etc.

Staff and students at the Education Training Collective (Etc.) have been sharing an insight into college life with a virtual visit from Ofsted.

Phil Cook, Chief Executive and Group Principal

With routine Ofsted inspections suspended due to the pandemic, inspectors have been carrying out interim visits to help learners, parents, employers and government understand how providers are currently meeting the needs of learners and apprentices.

During the two-day Etc. visit, inspectors heard how the group, which incorporates Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy, has found ways to adapt to the changing circumstances, while ensuring welfare and safety remain a priority.

In a report published today, inspectors said: “Employers and other partner organisations are positive about senior leaders’ response to the challenges of the pandemic. They believe that relationships with college staff are at least as strong now as they were at the start of COVID 19 restrictions. Many partner organisations are optimistic about future collaboration to address local skills gaps.”

Inspectors met with Etc. leaders, managers, staff and learners from across the group in a series of online meetings. They heard how college leaders believed they had been able to “respond successfully to the challenges posed” and that the colleges had been “able to move swiftly into alternative ways of working, including online meetings and remote learning”.

As a result of those moves, student attendance and engagement has been positive, with staff feeding back that learners’ attendance at online sessions during the pandemic did not decline. Staff have gone on to develop their teaching practice to enable them to deliver remote learning sessions and identify when and where face-to-face learning is most essential.

Continuing to build on this new way of working, the report stated: “Teachers have adapted their timetables in response to the different demands of learners’ programmes.”

Chief Executive and Group Principal Phil Cook said: “We were happy to share with Ofsted our experiences of what has undoubtedly been an unprecedented period of challenge for all education providers.

“It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our whole team, including our students, to have inspectors recognise the enormous effort that has gone into ensuring learning has been disrupted as little as possible across the Etc. We have been amazed by the resilience and adaptability shown by all.”

Chairman of the Etc. Governing Board Mark White said: “The response of our leaders, staff and learners to the challenges COVID 19 has posed has been phenomenal. We are proud to see that the Ofsted report released today reflects this.”

Bede Sixth Form College Launches Institute Of Sport And Education

Talented young Tees Valley athletes may no longer have to face the difficulty of choosing between their education or sporting aspirations.

In a move to create further opportunities for up and coming young sportspeople, Bede Sixth Form College in Billingham has announced the launch of its new Institute of Sport and Education.

“Healthy lifestyles, mental wellbeing and positive progression will be the cornerstones of the institute,” said Bede’s Campus Principal, Ben Robinson (pictured above). “The aim is to enable young athletes to increase their academic attainment and progression while developing their sporting performance.

Running alongside their full-time study programme, the institute will give students access to a wide range of sports academies, specialist coaching, strength and conditioning training, injury prevention management, healthy living and nutritional advice.

As a former young athlete himself, Ben understands more than most the struggle that young people can face, particularly elite performers who often have to choose between their sporting and academic ambitions.

The reality is, he said: “Sport can be a real vehicle for achievement, giving young people skills that can feed in to so many other aspects of their life.”

It’s not just the elite athletes that can reap the benefits, as Ben said: “It is widely recognised that sport and activity offer an array of wide reaching benefits for students from boosting concentration to stress relief.  The whole ethos of the institute is about using sport as a vehicle for positive progression.”

Already holding Dual Career Accredited College status by the Talented Athletes’ Scholarship Scheme (TASS), a Sport England-backed programme, Bede has a number of sport academies already up and running, including women’s football and men’s football, and netball and rugby academies, new for September 2020.

Among its elite players is young Lioness and women’s footballer, Eleanor Dale who, as a student at the college, has been able to take part in dedicated TASS Potential Project sessions and access support, balancing the demands of education and her sporting career.

Called to make her England Women’s Under-17 debut this year and going on to represent England in the UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship, Eleanor said: “It can be hard to get the balance right, so it helps to know the college is working to support a dual career, offering the best of both worlds.”

When it comes to pursuing a professional sporting career, the 18-year-old, who is studying law, sport and psychology at Bede, said: “I have had to make a lot of sacrifices for football.  It takes dedication and hard work but it is good to feel I have the support at college.”

The Institute of Sport and Education at Bede Sixth Form College is holding a launch event on Wednesday November 20, from 7.00pm to 9.00pm, offering an introduction to the programme, guest speakers and academy taster sessions. Book your place today.