Education Partnership North East (EPNE) has been named the region’s top performing college group for 16-18-year-olds for the second successive year.

Sunderland College, Northumberland College, and Hartlepool Sixth Form College, all part of EPNE, also ranked third nationally in the latest National Achievement Rate Tables (NARTs) for 16-18-year-old students, published by the Department for Education (DfE) in March 2024.

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 EPNE’s 16-18 further education students gaining an overall achievement rate of 90.7% for the 2022-23 academic year.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Sunderland College’s Sixth Form also retained their place as the top performing sixth forms in the North East, while Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall is once again the leading specialist land-based college for student achievement.

The group also ranked number one for Information and Communications Technology (second nationally) and Languages, Literature and Culture programmes in the region, as well as second for Retail and Commercial courses and third for Social Sciences.

The 2023-24 NARTs rankings are the latest accolade in a host of recent successes for EPNE, which has seen the group win The Edge Award for Excellence in Real World Learning at the Association of College’s Beacon Awards in addition to being named finalists in the Student Experience, Leadership and Innovation and Campaign of the Year categories at the Educate North Awards.

Toni Rhodes, Deputy Chief Executive at EPNE said: “It is amazing that our results for the second year in a row puts us amongst the top performing colleges nationally and number one in the North East.

“I am always immensely proud of how hard staff work to make a difference to the lives of our young people.”

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 2023.

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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