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Hills Road Sixth Form College

Hills Road Sixth Form College
Latin: Virtute et fide
By virtue and faith
Hills Road
Cambridge, England, CB2 8PE
School type State Selective State sixth form college
Religious affiliation(s) No religious affiliation
Established 1974
Opened 1900 as Cambridgeshire High School for Boys
School district In co-operation with Cambridge CAP Partnership
Authority Directly government managed in co-operation with Cambs LEA
Specialist No specialism — Designated Outstanding
Ofsted number 130615
Principal Linda Sinclair
Teaching staff 165 (sixth form)
Gender Mixed
Age range Generally 16-19 (full-time), all ages (evening classes)
Average class size 20
Language English
Hours in school day Variable
Classrooms 94
School colour(s) Maroon and sky blue         
Sports Badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders, rowing, rugby, squash, tennis, volleyball
Nickname "Hills"
Rival Traditionally Long Road Sixth Form College
Test average 98% pass, 48.8% A grade
School roll c.2000 full-time, c.5000 part-time
Newspaper The Phoenix
Student Council

Hills Road Sixth Form College (commonly referred to as HRSFC) is a state funded co-educational sixth form college in Cambridge, England, providing full-time AS and A-level courses for approximately 1,900 sixth form students from the surrounding area and a wide variety of courses to around 4,000 part-time students of all ages in the adult education programme, held as daytime and evening classes.


  • History 1
  • Admissions and destinations 2
  • Results and reputation 3
  • Student newspaper 4
  • Pastoral care 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • Principalship 7
  • Student Council 8
  • References 9


Hills Road Sixth Form College was established on 15 September 1974 on the site of the former Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, when education in Cambridgeshire was reorganised on a comprehensive basis, and grammar schools and secondary moderns were replaced by a system of (mainly) 11-16 comprehensive schools and sixth form colleges.

Since then, the college has expanded from its original single building, with the addition of the Sports and Tennis Centre in 1995; the Colin Greenhalgh building, which houses most arts subjects such as English, Modern Languages and History; The Rob Wilkinson building housing the Physics, Chemistry, and PE departments was developed in 2004; in 2005 the Margaret Ingram Guidance Centre provided specialist tutorial accommodation. Although the College previously had ambitious plans for a major redesign between 2010 and 2013, the economic crisis reduced the scope of the plans: in 2010 the College administrative areas were redesigned, more classrooms added in the Physical Sciences, Psychology and Art departments, the staffroom enlarged and relocated, the library partially refurbished, an extra resource area built to compensate for the space used to build new classrooms and the student social area rebuilt.

In the early 1990s responsibility for further education was removed from local authorities (as part of reforms aimed at reducing the level of the council tax), and Hills Road like other colleges moved to direct funding from central Government.

Hills Road had been building up a reputation for academic excellence, mainly through a standard set by the old Grammar School, but this developed under Colin Greenhalgh, who led the College to obtain the Queens Anniversary Prize in Education and become the first institution nationally to become "Designated Outstanding" and thus win freedom from OFSTED.

Admissions and destinations

Hills Road is one of seven post-16 centres in the Cambridge Area 14-19 Partnership. The state-maintained secondary schools in the city and Village Colleges in the surrounding areas are the main feeder schools to the centre, although it attracts students from all over the county and further due to its strong reputation. Currently, about 98% of students come from the school's catchment area, and 87% of students are from state maintained schools.[1] Hills Road is permanently over-subscribed. The college typically requires candidates to achieve a B (although at least an A for science and maths courses)[2] grade in a related GCSE to study an A-Level course,[3] whereas the nearby Long Road Sixth Form College typically requires a C grade for entry to AS courses.[4]

Priority for places is given to those who have attended a school in the catchment area. However, due to its reputation, the college also attracts students from out of area establishments, although such applications are only considered after places have been offered to all qualifying applicants in the Cambridge area.[5] The College runs a relative admissions program, meaning that the grades which got you in one year may not get you in the next, as all applicants are judged relative to all the others who apply.

About 90% of Hills Road students go onto higher education following their time at the college, for 40% this is after a gap year. About 5% of students enter full-time employment. Over the last five years, half of students have gone onto attend one of just sixteen universities (Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, East Anglia, Leeds, Loughborough, Manchester, Oxford, Nottingham, Sheffield, Sussex, Southampton, UCL, Warwick and York).[6] In 2006, fifty-two Hills Road students gained places at Oxbridge; this was a larger number than at any other state "school" and represents one in every sixteen students.[7] Hills Road was recently ranked third in a list of the schools with highest levels of Oxbridge entry, after Westminster School and Eton College. The Sunday Times reported that Hills Road sends approximately sixty-five students to the universities of Cambridge and Oxford every year.[8]

Results and reputation

The College has consistently ranked among the top three state sixth form colleges, with an average of 404 A-level points per student (equivalent to, among others, 3 A grades at A-level and a B for an AS) in 2005. In 2010, the College had an A-Level pass rate of 99.7%, 52% of which were A* or A.[9] Hills Road Sixth Form College was voted the Sixth Form College of the Year in 2013, by the Sunday Times.[10] Additionally, in January 2014 Hills Road was named the "creme de la creme" of state schools by Tatler Magazine, and included in Tatler's list of thirty elite state school in the United Kingdom. [11]National measures also place the College in or around the top decile amongst all types of institution for added-value:[12] students of all abilities achieve better results in GCE AS/A levels than expected from their starting points. For example, the 2009 Alps Report places the College third in the sixth form college performance table and in the top 1% for all institutions.[13] On the most recent edition of the BBC league tables, Hills Road Sixth Form College achieved a contextual value added score of 1009.1.[14]

At its most recent OFSTED inspection, teaching and learning was judged to be 'Outstanding', the top grade, in the eleven departments inspected. Leadership and management was also reported as 'Outstanding'.[15] It therefore became the first centre in the country to receive 'designated outstanding' status, meaning it is no longer subject to routine inspections, but is liable to be 'spot checked' at any time to ensure standards are kept high.

Student newspaper

Founded in 2008, The Phoenix is the only regular (but unofficial) Hills Road Student Newspaper.

Pastoral care

Attention has been drawn by Ofsted to the quality of the College's caring support and guidance: "the appointment of specialist tutors has been successful in providing students with effective academic and personal support …. Students receive very effective tutorial support both through their regular meeting with one of the team of specialist tutors and through the high levels of less formal support they receive outside of lessons from their teachers. Students enjoy coming to college and feel that they are recognised and respected as individuals" (Ofsted).[16]

The College has a wide variety of resources to help students with learning needs. Staff from the College's Study Skills Centre are qualified to carry out assessments, to diagnose specific learning difficulties and then to offer appropriate support; they have extensive experience of supporting students with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and other conditions within the autistic spectrum. The emphasis placed on ensuring that students are correctly assessed and reviewed throughout their course is evident in both the last Ofsted report and in the published prospectus.[17]

Notable alumni

Cambridgeshire High School for Boys

Many other notable alumni are listed in the Alumni section of the WorldHeritage entry for the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys.

Hills Road Sixth Form College


The College is managed by the College Strategy Team (CST), consisting of the Principal, the Deputy Principal and two Assistant Principals.

The management of the College is split into three areas of responsibility (Teaching, Learning & Student Support, Planning & Quality, Resources), each of which is assigned to a member of the CST.

Current CST Structure
Role Name Area of Responsibility
Principal Linda Sinclair
Deputy Principal Jo Trump Teaching, Learning & Student Support
Assistant Principal Dave Jones Planning & Quality
Assistant Principal Jill Aberdour Resources

Previous Principals

  • Colin Hill (1974–1984)
  • Colin Greenhalgh (1984–2002)
  • Rob Wilkinson (2002–2008)
  • Linda Sinclair (2008–present)

Student Council

The College Student Council is a prominent part of the Hills Road environment. Its Chair & another officer sits on the board of governors.

Previous Chairs from 2004–present

  • Jonathan Austin (2004-2005)
  • Stephanie Kay (2005-2006)
  • Nick Butterfield (2006-2007)
  • Ovie Faruq (2007–08)
  • Rafie Faruq (2008–09)
  • Harry Shaw (2009–10)
  • Karim Ahmed (2010)
  • Tom Franklin (2010-2011)
  • Christian Brighty (2011–12)
  • Isaac Turner (2012–13)
  • Thevindu Edirisinghe (2013-14)
  • Stephen Watkins (2014)
  • Alice French (2014-2015)
  • Uvini Edirisinghe (2015-present)

Current Student Council 2014–15[18]

  • Vice Chair- Vineeth Joseph
  • Secretary- Arabella Kirby
  • Treasurer- Taha Khan
  • Charities Officer- Hannah Foley
  • Environments Officer- Francesco Dernie
  • Events Officer- Hannah Theobald
  • NUS Officer- Rock Pok Tao Fong
  • Societies Officer- Molly Mead
  • Welfare Officer- Elspeth Davies
  • Communications Officer- Alice Gilby


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  6. ^ Life after Hills Road Hills Road Website. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
  7. ^ Hackett, G., State Schools & Oxbridge table, page 8 of The Sunday Times, 2006-12-17
  8. ^
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  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ 3 OFSTED. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
  16. ^
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  18. ^
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