Public Consultation


The Proposal

Long Road Sixth Form College and The Sixth Form College, Colchester are consulting on the proposal to co-create a new multi-academy trust. The proposed name for the trust is
The Sixth Form Colleges Trust.

Consultation Timeline

  • 17 April 2024: Public Consultation begins
  • 17 May 2024 (12 noon): Public Consultation closes
  • 4 July 2024: Consultation outcome published
  • 1 September 2024: Proposed date for the creation of The Sixth Form Colleges Trust.

How to respond

The consultation is now closed.

All responses will be carefully considered and will inform our next steps.

Please read below for further details on our proposal, or click here to view our public consultation booklet (the booklet is also available as a PDF download at the bottom of this webpage).

Our Colleges

Both Long Road Sixth Form College and The Sixth Form College, Colchester, provide 16-19 general education with a wide range of A Levels, Applied General qualifications, and GCSE Courses.

  • Long Road Sixth Form College currently has 2,616 16–19-year-old students on roll, 2,584 full-time and 32 part-time.
  • The Sixth Form College, Colchester currently has 3,215 16–19-year-old students on roll, 3,170 full-time and 45 part-time.

Please do take a look at our websites, which contain a wealth of information about each College.



Our Vision

Our vision is to create a dynamic, innovative partnership of inclusive sixth form colleges, making a positive contribution to post-16 learning in the Eastern region and beyond.

We believe, as The Sixth Form Colleges Trust, we will be stronger, more resilient, and creative together. We want to preserve and enhance both The Sixth Form College, Colchester and Long Road Sixth Form College for many generations to come.

The additional staffing capacity and increased funding that will come from working as a Trust will support our commitment to provide the best education we can for all our students. Together, we will educate over 6,000 students, employ over 400 staff, and manage an income of close to £30 million. By pooling our resources and experience, our aim is to develop ever more effective strategies to reduce disadvantage and enable every student to thrive. The principle of inclusivity underpins the Trust we aim to create.

As two sixth form colleges, we share a similar ethos, values, and direction. However, as a larger organisation, once we become a Trust, we will be able to:

  • extend learning opportunities and activities for students,
  • enrich the curriculum through partnership working and shared resources;
  • enable the sharing of excellent practice in teaching and learning and support, further improving effectiveness, outcomes, and progression for all students;
  • enhance the professional development of teaching and support staff;
  • and secure valuable cost and resource efficiencies through joint commissioning of services, which will enable more funds to be reinvested back into the student experience.

Our goal is to empower every student to achieve their unique potential. We want our students to leave our Trust ready to progress, equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to enjoy an enriching life and to make a positive difference in the world.

To support and inspire our students, we need to recruit and retain a diverse, high-calibre staff community. Working together as a Trust provides us both with a wider talent pool for recruitment and more opportunities for colleagues to develop and progress. Together, we can invest further to promote a culture that supports staff wellbeing, that identifies and nurtures future subject/college leaders and plans for succession, ensuring our Trust is a fulfilling place to work.

Benefits of our proposal

How will this proposal benefit students?

  • Sharing of good practice re effective teaching and learning including shared resources.
  • Access to an even more extensive programme of enrichment such as joint trips and activities.
  • Increased opportunities for valuable work-related learning through a centralised network of employers and businesses.
  • The Student Voice amplified with a wider network for collaboration and social action.
  • Enhanced shared facilities such as the Virtual Reality suite.
  • The development of existing partnerships with local universities to enhance progression pathways into HE and into the most competitive courses.

As an illustration:

The Essex Development Strategy sets out five key sectors: Construction (including green construction and retrofit), Clean Energy, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Digi-tech, and Life Sciences (including med-tech and care-tech.) Cambridge has a vibrant healthcare and life sciences sector, with leading companies located right on Long Road’s doorstep on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and leading technology businesses throughout the Greater Cambridge Region, so there are clear synergies and overlaps with Essex.

Creating the Trust will allow us to tap into opportunities through our respective links with employers in these sectors to enhance the progression pathways available to all our students. For example, sustainability is one of Long Road’s core values so being able to tap into the emerging Clean Energy and green construction sectors in the Essex region through the relationship with Colchester will give Long Road students more opportunities to connect with these businesses and vice versa. We will plan joint careers events and activities open to students at each college, thereby offering greater reach and impact to regional employers and creating economies of scale and efficiencies. The projected growth of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus with the addition of a Children’s Hospital and a Cancer Hospital, as well as additional life sciences companies, and the related workforce needs, not least the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan requirements, will necessitate developing a talent and recruitment pool from across a wider region.

Through the growing links between Long Road, the NHS, and Cambridge Biomedical Campus employers, Colchester students will be able to tap into opportunities that may not be so easily accessible in their region alone. This joined-up thinking and planning is much more likely to achieve the aspirations of students and meet the recruitment needs of employers.

How will this proposal benefit staff?

  • Enhancing curriculum delivery through shared resources across subjects/courses.
  • Shared expertise and collaborative working across specialist teams such as Safeguarding, Additional Learning Support and student wellbeing.
  • A wider peer support network.
  • More progression opportunities within a larger organisation.
  • An enhanced career development programme using the expertise within each college.
  • Additional funding to increase investment in teaching and learning, facilities and resources.
  • A large, financially stable, and sustainable employer, well-placed to respond and adapt to external influences and opportunities.
  • A strengthened capacity to bid for new initiatives/funding.

We believe that the Trust can provide many more career opportunities than one institution can offer alone and thereby will assist staff retention and recruitment. This matters, as critical to student success, is a thriving community of skilled professionals.

The Trust will also enable enhanced staff development through shared pedagogic research and through the unification and expansion of our current teacher training programmes designed to grow the next generation of post-16 teachers.

Smaller subjects in particular, will gain by creating new partnerships enabling a useful exchange of ideas re the exam board specifications and pedagogy, it will also help with standardisation of internal examined assessment and moderation of Non-Exam assessment (NEA).

Additionally, we will be more able to invest in new posts that as an individual college we might not be able to afford. One such area is in the development and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) where we will be better able to fund a post collectively, across both colleges, to develop and drive strategy.

How will this proposal benefit the wider community?

  • Continued collaboration with local schools, Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges.
  • Employers will have access to a larger cohort of future employees.
  • A financially resilient Trust that enables both Colleges to continue to serve their local communities long into the future.
  • Sustainably growing the Trust to benefit more students and staff across the region.

Increased collaboration opportunities:

Nationally, The Sixth Form College, Colchester and Long Road are members of the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), a national network of sixth form providers actively engaged in systems leadership across the post-16 sector, with a shared mission that: ‘all sixth form students deserve the very best educational experience that inspires then and sets them up for life. A flourishing network of dedicated sixth form colleges will make this a reality.’

The current membership of the SFCA is responsible for a fifth of all A levels delivered in England. We are an open and collaborative sector, and we will share our learning with our academy colleagues and look forward to learning from the academy sector also.

Frequently asked questions

Why are you proposing to create a new Trust rather than join an already established local one?

  • We have chosen to co-create a Trust so we can craft the Trust’s initial vision together and design how our Trust will work using our sixth form college experience.

    We want to create a Trust of post-16 institutions, much like a SEND or a primary one, to ensure that the Trust focuses clearly on the needs of 16–18-year-old students. As sixth form colleges, we are highly effective specialists in post-16 learning as our student outcomes and Ofsted ratings demonstrate.

Why Long Road Sixth Form College and The Sixth Form College, Colchester?

  • Long Road Sixth Form College and The Sixth Form College Colchester have participated in CENBASE, a peer review/quality improvement partnership, for over 14 years. Senior leaders, Curriculum Heads and others meet twice a term and have a strong foundation of trust. An annual highlight is our co-delivered Staff Development conference. June 2023 saw 300 teachers attend with a choice of over 25 workshops. The Trust will help strengthen our existing collaboration and enable us to further enhance teaching and learning quality and better support innovation, through regular, structured dialogue across curriculum teams and support services.


Might other colleges join the Trust?

  • We expect that others will do so in the future, when we consider it to be the right time for us. Due diligence checks will always be undertaken before any college could join. The focus of the Trust will remain firmly on what’s right for our students and staff, not seeking to empire build.


What changes will we see in September 2024 at Long Road Sixth Form College and The Sixth Form College, Colchester?

  • There are no plans to alter the education provision currently provided by each College or to change the admissions criteria.

    We want to preserve what makes each institution unique and successful, and therefore have no plans for an identical, standardised approach at each college. We will maintain our names and distinct identities. For students and staff, there will be little, immediate change as a direct result of forming the Trust. The changes you will see will come through close collaboration and teamwork and our desire to increase opportunities for our communities.


Will the Trust receive increased funding?

  • An immediate saving for each college will be through VAT. As Sixth Form Colleges (unlike schools or the independent sector) both Long Road and The Sixth Form College, Colchester are required to pay VAT. As an academy trust, the colleges would be able to reclaim VAT. For 2023/24 this amounts to circa £700k.

    As a Trust with an efficient, collaborative approach to procurement in such areas as energy, ICT, legal services, and a variety of other significant contracts, we will be able to make savings and achieve ‘best value’ without compromising quality. Our size will enable the Trust to build stronger relationships with key suppliers (e.g. Energy), providing more supply chain resilience, which could prove very valuable in more turbulent times. Together we can bring a strategic and continuous improvement approach to meeting the evolving budget requirements of the Trust.

Your Views & Privacy Statement

The consultation is now closed. 

Thank you for your feedback, all responses will be carefully considered and will inform our next steps.


Privacy Statement 

Any personal information you provide to Long Road Sixth Form College or to The Sixth Form College, Colchester as part of the consultation process will only be used for the purposes of acknowledging your participation and/or responding to any queries you submit at your request. It should be noted that your contribution may be published in a summary of responses received, however your name or anything that could identify you will not be made public. Any personal information you provide will be kept for 6 months and then destroyed in a secure manner.