Why choose us?
A great study experience for 16-18 year olds
Students generally apply to us during Year 11, and start the September after their GCSEs. We also have many students, who having started Year 12 or 13 in school 6th forms or at other providers, then decide that they want different courses or a fresh start/more independence at College. There are also some students aged 19+ who study full-time programmes with us. All are welcome....read on for the many reasons that people choose to study here!
An exceptional choice of courses
- A far greater choice than school 6th forms
- Over 175 courses, including 37 A Levels; vocational and technical courses; Apprenticeships and GCSEs
- Vocational subject areas include: Animal Care; Art & Design; Automotive; Business; Childcare; Computing; Construction Trades (Bricklaying, Carpentry, Plumbing); Digital and Media; Electrical Installation; Engineering; Hair & Beauty; Health & Social Care; Hospitality and Catering; Performing Arts; Public Services; Sport; Travel & Tourism
- The new T Levels in four subjects: Digital, Science; Health & Social Care and Childcare
- Progression Opportunities - Courses from Entry level to Level 3, plus HE and Degree-Level courses.
- A Level Pathways – underpinned by an employability focus with a clear career/university destination.
- “Extraordinary Extras” – enrichment initiatives designed to support study programmes and develop skills
Teaching quality and excellence
We are the number one local provider for A Level progress, College achievement rates, English and Maths progress and more! Our students achieve very good exam and assessment grades; on a par with, or better than, most local 6th forms.
Find out more about our High Quality Teaching and Results
Get more information on our Student Support
Great staff and facilities
We have a wide range of modern and specialist facilities and resources across both campuses which are industry-standard for our vocational areas. Our staff are experienced and highly qualified; many with postgraduate qualifications and industry experience.
- College vs Sixth form
Coming to College from a school with a sixth form
Whilst staying at 6th form may suit some, many others prefer the wider opportunities and independence that College offers.
We offer 14 A Level pathways, each underpinned by an employability focus with a clear link to a particular career/university destination, whilst still providing plenty of choice. Your programme has wrap-around components, including enrichment options linked to your pathway, work experience, tutorials and study skills and development coaching.
We have a wide range of vocational and technical qualifications; many in subjects not offered at sixth form– These are taught in industry specialist facilities and provide practical knowledge, skills and work experience to make you ready for your chosen career.
We’ve been awarded the matrix accreditation for impartial guidance – if we think study elsewhere may suit you better, we will say so! We want you to be able to access information on all available opportunities so you can make the choices that are right for you – we won’t insist you enrol with us just to hit numbers.
We have been named the top provider in Swindon and Cirencester for A Level progress! Progress scores determine how much progress A Level students make between the end of Key Stage Four (GCSE study) and the end of A Level studies.
There's a greater number of course, social, enrichment and employability opportunities available.
You should consider all options and visit all providers.
Here are some of the main questions that prospective students ask about the differences between College and sixth form:
1. School is familiar and teachers know me – will I feel happy in College?
You’ve matured significantly since the age of 11 and those year 7 days, but the school environment won’t have kept pace and you may well want to move on from certain staff and the constraints of school. Attending New College opens up all sorts of opportunities, allowing you to spread your wings, gain more independence, meet new people and start afresh.
2. My sixth form seems to have good A Level results. What about New College?
Our A Level students make better progress than those at any other state school or College in Swindon and Cirencester (Jan 2019-20 school performance tables, progress between end of Key Stage 4 and end of A Level study).
In Summer 2019, our A Level pass rates were on par with, or better than, most local 6th forms. Our overall pass rate was 98%, with over 41% of grades at A*A or B (up from 40% last year), with 61 students achieving at least 3 A*-B grades – and we have many more A Level students and entries than schools. Our BTEC Extended Diploma results were also good; 58% students achieved Distinctions.
3. I’m predicted to get top grades in my GCSEs and I want to do well in A Levels and go to a good university – how can New College help?
We offer a High Flyers Programme for very academically able students. Read our Press Release about the High Flyers Programme. Approximately 64 students gained places at Russel Group, Guardian and Complete University Guide top 20 Universities in Autumn 2020. 25 students secured places to study Medicine or Veterinary Science at their chosen Universities.
4. College is larger than school and there’s more people. Will I feel lost?
Although we deliver teaching across two campuses, you will only be expected to attend one. You will soon learn your way around. You’ll meet new people and take different classes, but you will still be able to meet up with old friends in our Restaurant and social spaces.
5. Will there be people to support me if I need it?
We provide a far wider range of services than school. You’ll have a Progress Coach and access to a large Student Services team including nurses, chaplains and counsellors. We have an Additional Learning Support team who have a fantastic reputation for providing this type of help. Find out more about Additional support
6. Will I receive the same amount of teaching time that I would have done in school?
You will get five hours per week per A Level in the first year. Many lecturers have postgraduate qualifications and industry experience and you will be taught by someone who has gained a degree (or an even higher qualification) in your subject; and not by someone with only a related degree.
7. Will I get enough feedback on how I am doing?
Yes! Our teachers set frequent assignments, give comprehensive feedback with subject reports with target grades in place so you will always know how you are performing and what you need to do to improve.
8. Will class sizes be too large for me to get individual attention?
Our average class size is 16-17, small enough for individual teaching but large enough to ensure that class discussion and group work – essential parts of the learning experience – are most effective. COVID regulations may affect this. Keep yourself updated by checking our Coronavirus updates page
9. Why is there a longer study day at College than school?
Our timetables allow teaching up to 5pm; this is far better preparation for university or working life and allows you to maximise study and course time.
10. My sixth form offers supervised study sessions – what about New College?
Studying at level 3/A Levels and at university means that you have to be motivated and develop independent research and study skills. We do run regular supervised study sessions and offer study skills sessions, but we also offer quiet study spaces in College to help you develop these important skills yourself.
- Enrichment at College
There are plenty of chances to contribute to College life and get involved! Enrichment can be experienced as part of your main College programme or pathway (as Extraordinary Extras), or as additional activities.
Our Enrichment Programme provides opportunities in four key areas: Employability, Community Participation, Personal Development Skills, Sports & Fitness.
Become a Student Rep/Governor
We run Taskforce Groups for our student representatives. The groups undertake a development project (a ‘mission’) to bring about positive impacts for students or the local community and then pitch for funding (£1,000 prize fund) in a local business “dragons’ den.” In 2019/20, student reps formed the following four groups: Mental Health, Enrichment, Charity & Fundraising and Environmental. Student Governors are elected to represent the student voice at official College meetings.
Become a NC Ambassador
Join us in supporting events and activities throughout the College, such as open evenings. These are valuable experiences, which can develop skills such as team working, decision-making and customer service skills; these can be included in your CV or university application.
Raising and Giving Money
Our students are very proactive when it comes to fundraising. They raise money during national events such as Children in Need, Comic Relief and Sport Relief, as well as local charities.
Themed events run throughout the year. We invite internal and external organisations in over lunchtimes to offer you information, initiatives and life skills.
Past events have included Volunteering Fayre, AntiBullying Week, Diversity Week and Health Week. Additionally, we annually run a ‘Freshers Festival’ to welcome our new 16-18 students.
Equality and Diversity
We are committed to positively and actively eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation in all the forms it presents as. Every student is welcomed and celebrated as an individual throughout the College.
- High Flyers
If you’re predicted to achieve at least six grade 7/As at GCSE, you can join our High Flyers' Programme at both campuses for academic and vocational studies. The programme includes:
- The widest choice of A Levels in Wiltshire with 37 to choose from
- Extended Project Qualification to help your UCAS application stand out
- An excellent track record of placing students at Russel Group and top universities
- Dedicated 1:1 tutor coaching, including Oxbridge
- A programme of presentations and initiatives e.g. graduate employers, top universities, former Oxbridge students
- Expert assistance with UCAS applications
- The opportunity to apply for one of our High Flyer scholarships
In autumn 2020, 25 students secured university places to study Law, Medicine, Pharmacy or Veterinary Science. 64 students gained places at Russel Group universities, including two at Oxbridge.
We have close links with the University of Bristol and many year 12 and year 13 students participate in the Access to Bristol and Pathways to Health Science programmes every year. In 2019-20, 6 students from New College took part.
Students attend a series of sessions on Wednesday afternoons during the autumn or spring term. The sessions give an idea of what it is like to study at the University of Bristol, working with academics and current students who can offer advice and guidance about higher education and their subject area.
In addition to Access to Bristol, 13 students last year took part in other activities at the University, such as Taster Days and Options Conferences.
Taking part shows a commitment to further study that strengthens university applications. Students who successfully complete the programme are guaranteed a contextual offer/interview from Bristol, a top-ten UK University (QS World University Rankings 2020). Find out more information at University of Bristol - Contextual offers
High Flyers Scholarships
We know that our High Flyer students will be taking extra courses and may have additional costs to meet such as the purchase of books and equipment. We would like to help with this and so will be offering a limited number of scholarships worth up to £150 each to students who meet the criteria and make a successful applications (terms and conditions apply).
How to join the programme
You will be invited to join the Scheme at your interview (based on predicted GCSE grades) and contacted by our High Flyers Co-Ordinator once you arrive at New College.
If you have attended an interview and would like to be sent the High Flyers application form, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org