Educational good news

Approaching the town hall
This is a time of year that is associated with good news, so it is great to be able to bring some good educational news when we are always hearing bad things about schools, universities and Michael Gove. Just over a week ago, though it seems a lot longer thanks to Christmas, I was at Rochdale Sixth Form College's awards ceremony.

Located in the imposing Victorian gothic grand hall of the Town Hall, the event was a celebration of the year's leavers' achievements, the majority now at university, and it turned out to be one of my favourite events of the year. My role was to give a motivational speech and to hand out around 200 certificates, accompanied with the obligatory smile and photo - which sounds like a very repetitious task, but saying hello to all the different students made it surprisingly enjoyable.

With RSFC student of the year
Rhiann Canavan
The reason I say it was good educational news was down to the remarkable achievements that the staff and students have made. Four years ago, RSFC was just a construction site, located in a borough that was one of the worst in the country for sixth form achievement. But in its short life, RSFC has become one of the few sixth form colleges to get an outstanding Ofsted and is rated one of the top colleges in the country.

There are times when it is difficult to be proud to come from Rochdale - but this was definitely one where my home town deserves a few accolades.

Here's to a great 2014 for all of us, but especially for Rochdale Sixth Form College and its leavers, who I had the pleasure to meet a few days ago.

Read more about the college in this article from the Independent.