Breath of fresh air at sixth form college

SHEFFIELD'S Longley Park Sixth Form College has invested nearly half a million pounds improving its teaching environment and is now expecting a record intake of students next September.

Work has completed on the retro-fit of a ventilation and cooling system for classrooms. The work further improves facilities at the high-performing college, with the funding provided by The Co-operative Bank.

The bank's South Yorkshire Corporate Banking Centre provided a 400,000 development loan to assist with the work on 36 teaching rooms.

When it opens for its new college year in September, Longley Park is now set to beat its 2007 intake of 1,190 students – up from 640 in 2004 when it was opened by local MP David Blunkett and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The purpose-built college offers a range of full-time courses for 16-to-19-year-olds and was designed by celebrated architect Ellis Williams, who also designed the Baltic Centre in Newcastle.

Trevor Wray, deputy-principal at Longley Park, said: "The college was established four years ago, following both a government report into post-16 education and intensive lobbying by local schools and parents.

"We have enjoyed considerable success in helping young people from a wide variety of backgrounds to stretch and fulfill their potential.

"Since 2004, we have doubled our yearly intake of students and last year enjoyed fantastic results – an A-level pass rate of 97%, a BTEC national pass rate of 98% and ten of our top students awarded places at the Oxbridge universities, and at medical and dental schools.

"Due to the demand for places we continually look at ways of further improving the learning environment within the college.

"We identified a ventilation system that would benefit students and teachers alike and, by working closely with The Co-operative Bank's South Yorkshire team, we were able to realise our plans and continue the college's growth and development."