Chesterton Sixth Form College

Eastern Learning Alliance propose a change in age range to facilitate 16-18 provision on our Chesterton site from 2022/23. We intend to offer the first school-based A-Level provision for students in the north of Cambridge city, with a focus on continuing to build on our strong legacy of ensuring all students are supported in reaching their full academic potential.

The Key Features of the Proposed 6th Form

Academic Offer

Our academic offer for students will be built around individuals.

Expert-led curriculum design and outstanding teaching and
learning will form the basis of a bespoke, personalised approach to ensuring all students make excellent progress on all courses.

Our exceptional track record in realising the full academic potential of all students will be emulated at A-Level.

Pastoral Care

We will use our exceptional existing pastoral model to provide the foundation for personalised packages of care and support for all sixth form students, with an absolute focus on knowing and supporting our young people as individuals.

Prioritising Disadvantaged Students

Disadvantaged students have, on average lower levels of qualifications at the end of every key stage – this will be
amplified further in the post pandemic climate. 

This attainment gap has enormous implications for the final qualification a student can expect to achieve before entering the labour market and ultimately on their social mobility. 

We will have a strategic focus on closing the attainment gap not only at Level 3 but also at earlier key stages.

Super-Curricular Offer

We will ensure all students have access to a challenging and engaging programme of opportunities and support to
extend their understanding of their curriculum subjects, as well as access to an exciting and carefully curated enrichment programme to broaden horizons beyond their A-Level courses.

Community Focus

We are keen to ensure the Chesterton Sixth Form is developed into a thriving community hub, with our student body actively encouraged to forge links with local community groups, primary schools and businesses.

Castle School Collaboration

Changing the age-range at Chesterton Community College will also allow for a collaborative sharing of space on site with the Castle Special School.

By offering space for their post-16 vocational courses to continue on the Chesterton site, desperately needed capacity at the Castle School is released to cater for younger students in our community with the most complex needs.

Our Proposal and the Key Benefits

Provides additional choice for all students

Currently, students in the north of the city who wish to study for A-Levels after leaving school at 16 have no option to stay in their local community for school based study.

For many students the large sixth form colleges in the south of the city are an appealing choice, but we know there are some students for whom a smaller, local provision would be preferable.

Our proposal offers an additional choice for local students, whilst having a negligible impact on other providers’ cohorts due to our intention to offer small-scale, bespoke provision to approximately 100 students per cohort.

Prioritises the disadvantaged

Recent research published by the Social Mobility Commission is clear that post-16 education is becoming more ‘segregated’.

Our sixth form admissions policy would positively discriminate in favour of disadvantaged students, prioritising them for places as well as considering holistic information alongside GCSE outcomes.

Our significant experience in providing exceptional academic and pastoral support for all students results in disadvantaged students at Chesterton outperforming their non-disadvantaged peers nationally year on year.

This provides an excellent basis for continuing to achieve outstanding outcomes for students from all backgrounds at post-16.

Draws on our academic expertise

Chesterton is proud of its outstanding outcomes at pre-16 and would like to make further use of the wealth of subject expertise that already exists within our staff body.

We feel strongly that we can make a valuable contribution to young people’s further education in our local community, and look forward to continuing our work in ensuring students meet and exceed their academic potentials at A-Level and beyond.

Makes use of existing buildings and expertise

Our proposal does not require additional investment over and above the normal sixth form per-pupil funding we would receive.

The necessary space already exists on the Chesterton site, as does the managerial capacity to run a sixth form college.


“In the critical stage of post-16 education, we need to see more support on offer, or else we could see decades of progress for young people thrown away.”

Strengthens our community networks

Within the CB4 area there exists a strong network of primary, secondary and special schools who work closely together for the benefit of all students locally.

Adding an A-Level provider would further strengthen this partnership, for example by providing opportunities for further outreach work with disadvantaged students in the primary sector.

Collaborates with local providers

Changing the age range at Chesterton will allow us to create a unique provision for sixth form students accessing A-Level courses, alongside offering space for those accessing sixth form provision with the Castle Special School.

In turn, this will provide desperately needed additional capacity for specialist provision in key stages one to four at the Castle School site, directly serving children in our community with the most complex needs.

Benefits for the whole ELA community

The addition of A-Level provision at Chesterton will have significant benefits for children in all our schools, as well as having tangible impact on staff recruitment and retention due to increased opportunities for teaching at KS5.




Consultation Process

This consultation runs from Monday 12th April - Sunday 23rd May 2021

A live Q&A took place on Tuesday 27th April, a recording of the session and a summary of responses can be found on our Virtual Q&A page linked below.

Chesterton 6th form logo

Have your say!

Submit any comments, questions or general feedback here – we will collate and publish our responses to your queries.

See responses

View our responses to your feedback and questions here: this page is updated regularly. Last updated 30/04/2021.