PORTSMOUTH’S only sixth form college says it has seen a big rise in applications from students.
This year 745 school leavers – 120 of whom have been predicted five As in their GCSEs – have applied to study at Portsmouth College, compared with just 636 last year and 536 in 2009.
Science and maths are proving the most popular A-levels, followed by English, the humanities, the arts and business, IT and economics.
And a demand for the classics – more frequently associate with public schools – will see the college teaching the subject for the first time.
Principal Steve Frampton said: ‘We’ve never had numbers like this before.
‘We’re getting more students with higher grades and they are choosing the most challenging subjects to get them into the best universities.
‘Portsmouth College is now their place of choice.’
The news comes as the college will put £1.2m towards a second wave of major refurbishments – £970,000 of which has come from the Education Funding Agency – that will go towards revamping the art block to include an exhibition space, improving the biology labs and extra ‘break out’ IT hubs throughout the college.
It will add to last year’s £1.6m investment which paid for new paint, windows and cladding to the main 1950s building, fitted the library with 70 PCs, built secure bike areas and created several IT hubs.
Mr Frampton said: ‘It’s a very exciting time for us.
‘With £4m we’ve transformed the college and the facilities are fantastic.
‘It’s what our hard working staff and students deserve.’
Rebecca Devine, who is taking A-levels in chemistry, biology, maths and geography, hopes to do pharmacy at a leading university.
The 17-year-old former Miltoncross student is one of a growing number of high-flyers choosing Portsmouth College over Havant College and South Downs in Waterlooville.
She said: ‘The science facilities here are great, which is important as it’s a very competitive area and we need to get the best grades.’