Skills and Education Group Award for social mobility and widening participation - Birkenhead Sixth Form College Case Study

Birkenhead Sixth Form College is an engine of social mobility; its educational ethos and its practices are all geared around this fundamental conviction.

Putting social mobility front and centre of everything we do is innovative because it challenges the traditional orthodoxy of targeting small groups of disadvantaged students, rather than targeting the educational experience itself.

We are driven by an educational ethos that provides transformational educational opportunities to white working class students, particularly the boys. The biggest positive impact is that these students are given the same aspirations and access to higher education and hence, to the professions as their middle-class counterparts. Over 85% of students, mostly first generation to access higher education, now go to university every year; many to Russell Group universities including Oxbridge.

This ethos permeates cross college through outstanding and innovative teaching; through sustainable whole college strategies based around core values and an ethos that focuses on imbuing those students with positivity, with ambition, with resilience and with thoughtfulness. University is, and should be, as automatic a progression for them as for their middle-class peers. In conclusion, this is a whole college approach to driving social mobility.