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A sixth form college is an educational institution in Englandmarker, Walesmarker, Northern Irelandmarker, Hong Kongmarker or Maltamarker where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels. In Singaporemarker and Indiamarker, this is known as a junior college.

In England and Wales, education is only compulsory until the end of year 11, the school year in which the pupil turns 16 (although this is changing in September 2013). In the Englishmarker and Welshmarker state educational systems, those wishing to continue may either stay on at a secondary school with an attached sixth form, transfer to a local sixth form college, or go to a more vocational further education college, although, depending on geographical location, there may be little choice as to which of these options can be taken. In the independent sector, sixth forms are an integral part of secondary schools (public schools).

Students at sixth form college typically study for two years (known as Years 12 and 13, Years 13 and 14 in Northern Ireland and/or lower sixth and upper sixth). Many students sit AS examinations at the end of the first year, and A-level examinations at the end of the second. In addition, in recent years a variety of vocational courses have been added to the curriculum.

There are currently over 90 sixth form colleges in operation in England and Wales. Most perform extremely well in national examination league tables. In addition, they offer a broader range of courses at a lower cost per student than most school sixth forms.

Scotlandmarker does not, in general, have separate sixth form colleges (or, indeed, the same concept of the terminal two years of secondary education as being distinct from the other time spent there); as such, Scottish students who opt to remain in full-time education will typically remain in the same school for fifth, and possibly a sixth year (the equivalent to the English lower- and upper-sixth forms), studying Higher Grade and Advanced Higher qualifications.

England

The first comprehensive intake sixth form colleges in England were established at the end of the 1960s and have since proved popular with students, their parents, and other groups in the community. Until 1992, these colleges were controlled and funded by local education authorities (LEAs), but the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992 transferred all institutions within the sector to the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC), a national agency with strategic responsibility for the operation of general further education (FE) colleges. Later the FEFC's functions were taken over by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), a reorganisation that included changes in the funding and supervision of sixth form colleges. Sixth form colleges take responsibility for their own employment, pensions and pay arrangements with the support and advice of the Sixth Form College Forum (SFCF). The Forum is made up of representative principals from SFCs across the UK. The Forum or Council, sets up several Committees to deliver its range of support services for SFCs as well as facilitating lobbying work with Central Government.Colleges for the most part do not charge full-time daytime students; however, adult students (most of whom attend evening classes) may have to pay a fee (for examinations, tutors' time and other costs).

Wales

In Wales, sixth form education falls under the remit of the Welsh Assembly, and sixth form colleges are sources of further education alongside FE Colleges and sixth forms integrated into secondary schools. They typically offer the Welsh Baccalaureate and Key Skills qualifications.

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