Education Partnership North East’s (EPNE) colleges have been ranked among the country’s best for its further education achievement rates.

The regional group, which includes Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Northumberland College, has been ranked second in the country – and top performing General Further Education (GFE) in the North East – in the Department for Education’s (DfE) latest National Achievement Tables for 16-19-year-old students, published March 2023.

Achievement rates are one of the most stringent measures of success and show the percentage of students that were awarded their qualifications. The national tables, which are released annually, ranked over 200 sixth forms and colleges across the country, with Education Partnership North East’s 16-19 students gaining an overall achievement rate of 92% for the 2021-22 academic year.

The national ranking is the latest accolade in a host of successes for the award-winning group in recent years and follows 2022’s Ofsted inspection which rated EPNE’s overall provision as Good and its colleges’ personal development of students as outstanding.

Earlier this year, EPNE’s support for its students and use of digital technology was highly commended at the Association of College’s (AoC) prestigious Beacon Awards.

Ellen Thinnesen, EPNE Chief Executive, said: “This achievement is solely the result of the tremendous hard work and tenacity of college staff and leaders. We have come such a long way since our mergers in 2017 and 2019, and I know our journey of transformation has not always been easy.

“Our progress is down to the passion, care and determination of staff to continually improve for our communities; this culture is part of who we are, and our staff should feel very proud of these outcomes.”

Toni Rhodes, Principal and Quality Lead for EPNE said “I am immensely proud of everyone involved, this is a huge testament to how hard students have worked following what has been a difficult period and for some young people this was the first time that they had to sit an exam.

“I know the staff have worked hard to support all students both academically and personally to achieve this level of success.”

Striving towards outstanding, EPNE continues to make significant investments across its campuses to provide students with state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to enrich their learning and ensure they gain the skills and knowledge, with 92% of 16-18 students across EPNE progressing to employment, an apprenticeship or higher education in 2022.

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19