Staff and students at Greenhead are celebrating after being crowned the top sixth form college in the country.

The college claimed top spot in the prestigious Sunday Times Parent Power list, which rates the UK’s top 2,000 state and independent schools.

Alastair McCall, Parent Power editor, noted Greenhead’s “national reputation for excellence” and the fact that it has consistently featured in the UK’s top two colleges for academic performance.

In his citation he said that Greenhead students progress to, and do well at, university, and praised the fact that the students’ “ambitions and aspirations are stimulated by Greenhead’s outstanding environment for learning,” which is achieved “without creaming off just the local academic high-fliers,” but by “seeking to provide opportunity for all its 2,250 students” which, he said, it succeeds in doing to great effect.

Principal Anton McGrath said: “We are very pleased with the award. It is recognition of the hard work by the staff and the students to achieve the grades that they do and to be so consistent over the years.

Anton McGrath, principal of Greenhead College
Anton McGrath, principal of Greenhead College
 

The result is all the more remarkable, as many of the schools at the top of the Parent Power lists select their students. However, Greenhead guarantees a place for any pupil from its 12 partner secondary schools in Kirklees who is predicted to get five A* to C grades, including maths and English language, at GCSE. And these pupils make up over half of its annual intake.

Greenhead students achieve impressive results: 42% of all A levels are graded A* or A, while 65% are B or higher. Some 40% of leavers go on to Russell Group universities, including around 30 to Oxford and Cambridge.

 

One of Greenhead’s not-so-secret weapons is Alps (A Level Performance System), which combines setting students challenging minimum targets and following this up with individual monitoring through one-on-one sessions with tutors.

Mr McGrath said that Greenhead had had its biggest-ever response on social media, following the announcement on Twitter and Facebook.

He commented on Huddersfield University being named as University of the Year, adding: “Education in Huddersfield is in rude health. Huddersfield has a bright future for students who want to stay in the area and prosper at university.”

The list of top state secondary schools was heavily dominated by those with a selective intake, many of them located in the south of England.

Three local schools made it into the list: The North Halifax Grammar School (at 115), The Crossley Heath School (132) and Heckmondwike Grammar School (139).

All three have a 100% selective intake.