COUNCIL FOR INDEPENDENT EDUCATION
COUNCIL FOR INDEPENDENT EDUCATION
Lord Lexden OBE
Hugh Monro, MA
Mark Shingleton, BA, MA, PGCE
Tom Caston, BA, MSc
Independent sixth-form colleges are extremely well placed to offer what is needed for students preparing for university and beyond. The best such colleges are generally members of CIFE, the Council for Independent Education, an organisation which was founded more than 40 years ago. There are 23 CIFE colleges, geographically spread across the country, each one offering individual features but all subject to high standards of accreditation. For example, there are some colleges that specialise in students wishing to retake in order to improve exam grades, some offering GCSE and pre-GCSE programmes as well as full A Level courses, which may be residential, homestay, day, or a mix of all three. Several colleges offer foundation programmes and are twinned with universities. In short, CIFE colleges offer a wide range of educational environments in which students can succeed.
Teaching in CIFE colleges really helps and supports students since teaching groups are small and teachers highly experienced and specialists in their subject. The ‘tutorial’ system derives directly from Oxbridge where it continues to be world famous. A student in a small group receives a greater degree of individual attention. Regular testing ensures that she/he maintains good progress, and the emphasis on study skills provides essential support for the AS/A Level subjects.
It is not surprising that a student gains confidence and self-belief within such an environment. Colleges engender a strong work ethic in their student communities. Many of the minor rules and regulations essential for schools are not necessary at CIFE colleges. Good manners and an enthusiastic attitude are every bit as important, but uniform, strict times for eating or homework, assemblies or games participation are not part of the picture. It can be seen from the large numbers of students going on to higher education from CIFE colleges that universities regard our students highly.
Increasing numbers of young people are deciding to move school at the age of 16, not because they are unhappy with their school, but because they see the need for a change at this stage. It may be that they wish to study a subject which their school does not offer, such as Accounting, Law, Psychology or Photography. Perhaps they are looking for a more adult environment or one where they can focus on their academic subjects to the exclusion of other things. However, it would be misleading to suggest that CIFE colleges are lacking in extracurricular activities, as every CIFE college recognises the need for enrichment of all sorts, sporting, social and creative. The difference is that activities are at the choice of the student.
As with schools, choosing a college calls for careful research. CIFE colleges undergo regular inspection either by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, Ofsted and/or the British Accreditation Council; recognised bodies which regulate the provision and standards of teaching, safety and pastoral care. While each college has its own individual character, all share the desire to provide each individual student with a superb preparation for higher education.
Members of CIFE
Ashbourne Independent Sixth-form College, London
Bales College, London
Bath Academy, Bath
Bosworth Independent College, Northampton
Brooke House College, Market Harborough
Cambridge Tutors College, London
Carfax College, Oxford
CATS College, Cambridge
CATS College, Canterbury
CATS College, London
Cherwell College, Oxford
David Game College, London
LSI Independent Sixth Form College, London
Mander Portman Woodward, Birmingham
Mander Portman Woodward, Cambridge
Mander Portman Woodward, London
Oxford International College, Oxford
Oxford Sixth Form College, Oxford
Padworth College, Reading
Regent College, London
Rochester Independent College
Westminster Tutors, London
Further information can be obtained from: