Truro and Penwith College has again been confirmed as one of the best performing A-level providers in England, and for the tenth year in succession.

The endorsement comes from a key national value-added measure, Alps’. This compares student grades when they finish college to their incoming GCSE scores. It effectively measures the distance travelled by college students after their GCSE performance at school.

The College’s latest Alps’ value-added data confirms that Truro and Penwith students achieve A level grades far beyond those predicted by their incoming GCSEs scores. These results now mean that in every year over the past decade the College has been in the top 10% of A-level providers nationally.

Truro and Penwith College has a non-selective approach to student recruitment and a comprehensive ethos. This means its A-level students, nearly 1,000 who join each year, arrive with a very wide range of GCSE scores. However, irrespective of these starting points, this ALPS data illustrates that these students make more progress than in nearly all the national A level cohort.

The Alps’ endorsement for achievement at Truro and Penwith College was recently confirmed by Ofsted too, and was a key measure used in awarding the College its Grade 1 Outstanding designation. Inspectors commented:  "Teaching, learning and assessment are outstanding and, as a result, learners make exceptional progress, often well above their expectations and their qualifications on entry would predict."

College Principal David Walrond also attributes this success to “the kind of teaching and support which raises not just levels of aspiration, but the levels of achievement needed to allow students to realise those aspirations”.

He continued: “What this data also shows is that every year hundreds of students who in a selective system would be deemed academically unqualified for A level not only follow an A level course, but achieve very well on it. The consequence of this has been excellent student outcomes for the class of 2016, including over 300 Truro and Penwith College students progressing onto Russell Group universities, and 15 Oxbridge places also confirmed.”

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The success of Truro and Penwith College’s A level performance comes at a time of controversy at national level over plans to increase selective education and to permit more institutions to choose which students to accept or reject.

In that context David Walrond added: “These great value-added results contribute tellingly to that national debate on selection in education and its impact on life chances.  When we could no longer meet demand for A level places here, one option was indeed simply to ration our provision through selection. This would have been an easy solution, but completely the wrong solution for Cornwall and its young people - wrong educationally, socially, and I would stress economically. Any new proposal to have more selection in education is therefore bewildering. It actually undermines existing government policies on improving life chances through education. There is no credible evidence that selection boosts overall achievement or increases life chances or drives the economy. You ration opportunity through selection. Instead we are committed to increasing opportunity by expanding the best and most sought after provision to meet that demand. This is what we are doing with our new campus at Callywith. This is the way to bring higher achievement and better life chances to more people, and to maximise the socio-economic benefit across a wider community.”

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