Caption: Students to benefit from £3.5m development at Birkenhead Sixth Form College
04 March 2013

Students to benefit from £3.5m development at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

By Paul Eeles

Building work is almost complete on state-of-the-art Science, Arts and Learning Support facilities at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, thanks to the help of a former student.

The £3.5million development at the College – the only specialist sixth form college in the Wirral – includes new Science labs, five new arts classrooms, student spaces, offices and a purpose built disabled toilet and shower room.

The design and building work has been overseen by former BSFC student Rachel Clegg, a qualified architect at a leading Wirral firm, Ainsley Gommon Architects.

Oxford Brookes University graduate Rachel, from Birkenhead, has managed the project for Ainsley Gommon from design concept through to site work at the college she attended from 1999 to 2001.

29-year-old Rachel – who achieved A-levels in Science, Maths and Art – said she was delighted to be back at the College and working on such a prestigious project.

“Birkenhead Sixth Form College played a key part in my education and development into a career in architecture, so it’s great to be back and working on these facilities, which will give other students an even greater stepping stone to further education or employment.

“The College has a strong ethos of supporting students to fulfil their ambitions – my teachers actually helped me to secure work experience at Ainsley Gommon while I was studying. I was always keen on architecture and gained the A-level results I needed to attend Oxford Brookes, which has one of the best Architecture Departments in the UK.

“I worked closely with Steve Geary, one of the directors at Ainsley Gommon Architects, on the design work and we are very proud of the developments.”

Steve said: “When the first project was awarded to us, I asked Rachel if she would like be Project Architect, not only for her excellent design skills, but also to show the college how one of their ex students has succeeded in her chosen career, and to allow Rachel to give something back for their commitment to her. The College is an excellent place to study and the students have access to some of the best facilities in the region.”

Birkenhead Sixth Form College has received strong praise from Ofsted for its work in supporting learners into university and employment, with the widest range of A-level courses on the Wirral and an A-level pass rate of 99%. More than 300 BSFC students progress to university each year.
Principal Kathryn Podmore said: “The new buildings are due for completion in March and will give existing and prospective students even better learning facilities across our Science and Arts Departments.

“It has been a pleasure to welcome Rachel back and we are delighted that another of our students has progressed into such a prestigious profession. The work undertaken by Rachel and Ainsley Gommon Architects has been excellent and we look forward to opening the facilities to our students.”

The new buildings will include:

  • Three Science labs and preparation room.
  • Five Art classrooms together with enhanced portfolio storage and general storage rooms for art materials. New art specific furniture and better work space for teachers.
  • A new Learner Support base to support student growth in this area. Facilities will include a large general purpose room, a quiet room and disabled toilet and shower room.
  • Two staff offices to support student engagement.

Mrs Podmore added: “As a Centre of Academic Excellence we take pride in giving our students the confidence, aspirations and skills to succeed in their chosen career. We also believe that as the only specialist Sixth Form College in the borough, our provision and facilities for A-level students is second to none.”

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