Callywith ranked best in country as Covid-19 sees entire college community move online

New government data released just as the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic was sinking in, ranks Callywith College as the best performing college in England.

Callywith's very first students celebrating exceptional results in August 2019

Callywith College was ranked highest in the national list of all 82 sixth form and 16-19 Free schools in the country, with an achievement rate of 95.1 per cent released by the Department for Education in April 2020. Achievement rates indicate the proportion of students that both fully complete and pass their courses.

The College, which opened in September 2017 in association with Truro and Penwith College, posted its first full set of results in 2019 and achieved an overall A-Level pass rate of 100% with one of the highest Level 3 Value Added scores in Devon and Cornwall. The fantastic results were followed by an Ofsted inspection in January that saw the college graded as Outstanding in all categories.

Callywith Principal Jon Grey said: “At a time when we are faced with unprecedented challenges to support our college community, it is hugely encouraging to have further confirmation of how Callywith College has quickly become one of the very best Colleges nationally. High success rates are an endorsement not only of the quality of teaching, but of how effective our advice, guidance and pastoral support are. Collectively these things deliver a college where the large proportion of students get high grades and make significantly higher than average progress (value added) from their school GCSE starting points.”

In the light of Covid-19, the focus at Callywith has been on establishing the outstanding college online. Since Monday 23 March, all taught lessons at the College have been delivered online as per students’ usual timetables.

The College's students and staff have been continuing lessons online

Despite the great increase in demand for places following Callywith’s Ofsted report, all prospective new students continue to have full interviews by phone and video to ensure they make the best choices and access the right course for them. Callywith is also shortly to release online transition work to support year 11 students choosing to progress to the College in September. While demand for courses in September 2020 is understandably high, there are still places available and candidates can apply via the website

Callywith Principal Jon Grey spoke of how proud he is of everyone at the College since moving online:

“The commitment and resilience shown by students and staff to not let the restrictions imposed upon us by the coronavirus impact on learning, communication and college spirit, has been quite incredible. On behalf of all staff and students, I would also like to say a huge thankyou to the many parents/carers who have been so supportive in making this unprecedented change a workable reality.”

Assistant Principal Lucy Maggs said: “The College has been 100% focused on student wellbeing and in not leaving any student feeling isolated from the College community. Whilst this is not easy for all teachers and students alike, I am so incredibly impressed by how many lessons have been attended, how many supportive discussions between students, teachers and support staff have taken place and the positive effects our collective efforts have had. As a college, we are all looking out for each other and doing our best in very challenging times.”

Some of the highlights of the new online college operations include chemistry students singing happy birthday to one another, shared study space selfies everywhere, and a sweeping craze for kicking/flicking/chucking tea bags into teacups. There has also been inspiring teamwork from the Sport Academies and many of the staff, who all took on the #StayAtHomeChallenge to kick/throw/headbutt a toilet roll to one another through the power of video, proving that even when apart, it is still possible to work together. (Watch the video here)

The College’s Science Department have also been giving back to the wider community, donating all the College’s stock of PPE, including masks, eye protection, over-shoes, disposable aprons, paper suits and disinfectant wipes, to St Austell Healthcare to help protect their frontline NHS staff working in local community hospitals and care homes.

The College donated all it's PPE to frontline NHS staff

Callywith has sent this core message to all its students: “Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and stay focused on the future when this situation has passed and you will be able to take all you have learned from completing your time at Callywith College into your successful futures.”