Top Sixth Form Colleges In The UK – Rankings And League Table (2024)

As pivotal institutions tailored exclusively for students aged 16 to 19, Sixth Form Colleges offer a focused environment for students to deepen their academic knowledge, explore their interests, and prepare for the next stage of their education journey. In our guide, we explore the top Sixth Form Colleges in the UK, their academic performances, and their rankings in the Sixth Form College league table.

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What Is A Sixth Form College?

A Sixth Form College is an educational institution in the UK that caters to students aged 16 to 19, typically offering advanced-level courses such as A-levels. These colleges provide a focused environment for students to prepare for higher education.

Sixth Form Colleges offer a wide range of subjects catered to the interests and needs of its students, with the goal of helping them discover their passions and gain entry into their targeted courses and tertiary institutions.

What Is The Difference Between Sixth Form Colleges And Traditional Schools?

Sixth form colleges differ from traditional secondary schools primarily in their focus and student demographic. While traditional secondary schools cater to students aged 11 to 16, sixth form colleges specifically serve students aged 16 to 19. This narrower age range allows sixth form colleges to offer specialized programs and support tailored to the needs of older students who are preparing for higher education or entering the workforce. Additionally, sixth form colleges often provide a broader range of subjects and greater independence for students compared to traditional schools.

What Courses Are Offered At Sixth Form Colleges?

Sixth Form Colleges in the UK offer a variety of qualifications and courses tailored to the needs and interests of their students. Some of these include:

  1. A-levels: A-levels is most commonly offered at Sixth Form Colleges and is widely considered to be the gold standard for entry into the top universities and courses in the UK, as well as around the world.

  2. BTEC Diplomas: Vocational qualifications offered by the Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC), covering subjects like Business Studies, Health and Social Care, Engineering, and Information Technology.

  3. International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme: A globally recognised pre-university qualification that covers a wide range of subjects and emphasises critical thinking, research skills, and international-mindedness.

  4. Cambridge Pre-U: An alternative to A-levels offered by the University of Cambridge International Examinations, focusing on depth of understanding and preparation for university study.

  5. Foundation Courses: Preparatory courses designed to bridge the gap between secondary education and university for students who may not meet the entry requirements for their desired degree programs.

  6. Apprenticeships: Work-based training programs that combine on-the-job learning with classroom instruction, leading to nationally recognised qualifications in various industries.

  7. GCSE Retakes: Opportunities for students to improve their grades in subjects they previously studied at the GCSE level, often required for entry into certain university courses or apprenticeships.

Ranking Methodology Of The Top Sixth Form Colleges In The UK

The rankings of the Top Sixth Form Colleges are based on the Sunday Times Parent Power Rankings. The Colleges are ranked based on academic results: AAB percentage in 2+ Facilitating subjects.

UK Sixth Form College League Table

Here you can find the list of top 50 ranked Sixth Form Colleges in the UK.

Top Sixth Form Colleges In London

The top Sixth Form Colleges in London as of 2024 are as follows:

What Are The Entry Requirements For Sixth Form Colleges?

Entry requirements vary depending on the institution and the specific courses or qualifications being pursued. Here are some of the common entry requirements:

  1. GCSE Results: Students are typically required to have achieved a certain number of GCSE passes at grades A*-C (or 9-4 under the new grading system) in relevant subjects, including English and Mathematics. The specific grade requirements may vary depending on the college and the courses being applied for.

  2. Subject-specific Requirements: For certain courses, especially those at advanced levels like A-levels, students may need to meet specific grade requirements in related GCSE subjects. For example, a student applying for A-level Mathematics might need to have achieved a minimum grade in GCSE Mathematics.

  3. Interviews or Assessments: Some Sixth Form Colleges may require students to attend interviews or undergo assessments as part of the application process. This allows colleges to assess the student’s suitability for the courses they are applying for and may also provide an opportunity for students to discuss their academic interests and goals.

  4. Personal Statement: For certain courses or competitive programs, students may be required to submit a personal statement detailing their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and reasons for wanting to study at the Sixth Form College.

  5. Reference: Students may need to provide a reference from their previous school or teachers, which can attest to their academic abilities, work ethic, and suitability for the courses they are applying for.

It’s important for prospective students to carefully review the entry requirements for their chosen sixth form colleges and courses and to ensure they meet or exceed these requirements before applying.

How To Choose A Good Sixth Form College?

To choose a suitable or good Sixth Form College, you should consider various factors to ensure that the college aligns with your academic goals, interests, and personal preferences. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Research: Begin by researching different Sixth Form Colleges in your area or those known for offering courses in your areas of interest. Look at their websites, prospectuses, and any available information to learn about their academic programs, extracurricular activities, facilities, and student support services.

  2. Academic Programs: Consider the range of courses and qualifications offered by each Sixth Form College. Ensure that they offer the subjects or qualifications you are interested in studying, whether it’s A-levels, BTECs, International Baccalaureate, or others. Additionally, check the college’s track record in terms of exam results and university placements.

  3. Facilities and Resources: Visit the Colleges if possible to tour their facilities, such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and sports facilities. Evaluate the quality of the resources available, including textbooks, technology, and equipment, to support your learning.

  4. Extracurricular Activities: Explore the extracurricular opportunities available such as clubs, societies, sports teams, and volunteering programs. Consider how these activities align with your interests and whether they offer opportunities for personal development and social interaction, because—hey, life is more than just about studying.

  5. Location and Accessibility: Take into account the location of the College and consider factors such as proximity to your home, transportation options, and ease of access. Evaluate whether the location and commuting arrangements are convenient for you and allow you to balance your academic studies with other commitments.

  6. Reputation and Reviews: Seek feedback from current or former students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders about their experiences with the Sixth Form Colleges you are considering. Look for online reviews, testimonials, and league tables to gauge the college’s reputation and performance.

What Is The Top Sixth Form College In The UK?

The top ranking Sixth Form College in the UK is King’s Maths School. Located in Lambeth, London, the College runs in partnership with King’s College London to provide high quality maths education to pupils. The class of 2023 obtained stellar A-level results, with 69% A* grades and 91% A*-A grades. Meanwhile, 100% of students scored at least AAB in 2+ facilitating subjects.


In conclusion, entering the Sixth Form is a significant milestone in your life and selecting the right Sixth Form College is an important decision—You should do thorough research using the tips provided in this article. 

Remember, choosing the right College can open up the floodgates to educational opportunities that align with your personal goals and interest. If you require any advice or school selection, feel free to contact us at Britannia, we’re here to help!

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