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Admissions Policy

Connell Co-op College

Admissions Policy 2024-25

  1.  Introduction

1.1        Connell Co-op College is a Sixth Form College in East Manchester offering education to students aged 16-19.

1.2        This policy will provide transparency and consistency in all our admissions procedures.

1.3        Staff of the College will ensure that information regarding entry criteria and application procedures are available to all stakeholders.

1.4        Students will be helped by staff to choose courses appropriate to their aspirations and starting points.

2.        Definitions

For the purposes of this Admissions Policy, the following will apply

        2.1        ‘Children Looked After’ has the meaning set out in the Children 1989 Section 22(1) and the Adoption and Children Act 2002 section 46 (adoption orders).

        2.2        ‘The College’ means Connell Co-op College in East Manchester.

        2.4        In this policy Eligible Applicants are those who have accepted an offer and met the entry criteria.

        2.5                ‘The College Prospectus’ means the booklet with this title, which is available from the College. The most up to date version of this will always be available on the Connell website.

3.           Planned admission numbers

        3.1        The maximum number of students to be admitted into Year 12 for September 2024 will be 550. Admissions will be limited by the space available on each course in addition to the overall limit on numbers of Year 12 students.

4.        Admission to the College

The admissions policy and all stages of the admissions process is overseen by the Student Recruitment Manager and executed by the Operations Manager - HR, Marketing and Admissions.

        4.1        Students born between 01 September 2007 and 31 August 2008 will be considered for entry into Year 12 during 2023.

        4.2        Older students, born between 1st September 2006 and 31st August 2007, (e.g. those who have repeated a year at school previously or those who have spent a short time away from study and now wish to return to study) will also be considered, providing they fit the criteria for entry into the College.

        4.3        Priority admissions will be given to students in the following order:

                1. Students who meet our Priority Deadline, attend their interview bringing with them a personal statement, who accept their offer after the interview and who meet or exceed the entry requirements for their chosen course, on receipt of a positive reference from their current school. Looked After Children in this category will be prioritised too.

        2. Students who exceed the entry requirements for their chosen course, who attend their interview bringing with them a personal statement, who accept their offer after the interview and who meet the final application deadline, on receipt of a positive reference from their current school.                 

        3. Students who meet the entry requirements for their chosen course, who attend their interview bringing with them a personal statement, who accept their offer after the interview and who meet the final application deadline, on receipt of a positive reference from their current school.

        4. Late applicants who exceed the entry requirements for their chosen course and who can provide a compelling reason for missing the deadline (only if their chosen course is not over-subscribed), and who provide a positive reference from their current school.

        5. Walk-in applicants who exceed the entry requirements for their chosen course and who can provide a compelling reason for failing to apply to College (Only if their chosen course is not over-subscribed).

        6. The College will reserve 30% of places for students who are identified as qualifying for pupil premium. To secure one of these ‘protected pupil premium places’, students must  

  • meet or exceed the academic entry criteria for their course
  • have a positive reference from their school including attendance of at least 96% during year 10 and year 11 year to date
  • attend their interview and accept their place

        Protected pupil premium places will be awarded on a first come first         served basis throughout the admissions process. Protected places that have not been taken up during the main admissions process will then be offered to waiting list students and/or late applicants

        4.4         In the case of oversubscription for any course of additional programme, the above will be taken into account and priority given to those who meet all the above criteria. We will look at the student’s interview-rating (including their attendance data and other reference information), the date they applied, their school, their postcode and their GCSE grades to make decisions.

5.        Entry Requirements        

        5.1        The minimum academic requirements for entry of Applicants into the College to Level 3 two-year post-16 courses is 5x GCSE passes at Grades 4-9. The five GCSE passes must include Mathematics, English Language and English Literature at Grade 4 or higher. Specific subjects have their own entry requirements, many of which are Grades 5 or higher.

        5.2         Level 2 BTECs will be considered in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the college. The L2 BTEC must directly relate to the Level 3 course the student wishes to study, and must be at a Distinction level. Level 1 BTECs and First Language examinations will not be considered in the 5x GCSE passes but may be taken into consideration when making decisions between students with similar grade profiles.

        5.3        Special consideration will be given to applicants who are Looked After Children. These are people under the age of 18 who are living with foster parents, in a residential children’s home or in a residential setting like a school or secure unit.

        5.4        Applicants from schools where GCSEs are not studied should have equivalent qualifications and they need to prove the equivalence to the College, via a Statement of Comparability from UKENIC. The Statement of Comparability must be provided prior to enrolment. They should also be able to demonstrate that they are working at a level comparable to GCSE qualification.

        5.5        Students not British Nationals or permanent residents need to have proof of residency or indefinite leave to remain in the UK - refer to the relevant Department for Education funding document here. If you hold an EU passport and moved to the UK less than 3 years ago, you will need to also provide proof of residency.

6. Application Process

        6.1        All applications must be submitted via our online system before Friday 12th                         January 2023 at the latest. Priority consideration will be given to students                         who meet our Priority Deadline in November. Applications submitted after                         the 12th January will  only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

        6.2         All applications we receive before the deadline are considered to help inform                         our decision we look at:  

  • each student application individually    
  • predicted GCSE grades provided by the high school  
  • the suitability of chosen courses and levels of study  
  • the personal statement, including wider interests  
  • the student’s reference from their high school, including attendance data and behaviour concerns (students not attending a high school or in alternative provision can provide information in other ways by contacting the admissions office and explaining the circumstances)
  • the commitment to being part of the Connell community and interest in our wider social responsibility, including Ways of Being Co-op
  • the quality of the application  
  • the availability of places  
  • the receipt of the application before the deadline

7.        Interview

        7.1        Students meeting the priority deadline and all our entry criteria and deadlines will receive an invitation to attend an interview during the autumn term. This is when a student’s aspirations and career pathway will be discussed and any information regarding additional support will also be discussed and noted. Students meeting the final deadline may be invited to an interview, depending on availability of places on their chosen course.

7.2         If there may be a Learning Support need, this should be recorded on the interview record sheet, a copy of which will be given directly to the College SENDCo by the Admissions Team. Applicants must still meet the entry criteria for specific courses. If an applicant does not meet the entry criteria, this will be assessed on an individual basis which may result in an alternative and more appropriate course being offered. If Connell Co-op College is not able to make an offer of a place on any course, IAG will be offered regarding other choices. 

        7.3        Detailed information about needs will also be obtained from the student’s present school. Support for any special needs will be considered in line with the College’s policy for Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities.

8.        Conditional Offers of Places

        8.1        All offers made during the autumn, spring or summer term, following the interview are conditional. The conditions will be as set out in sections 4, 5 and 6 above.

        8.2        Places will be offered to students in order of priority (following the process outlined in section 4.3). Once courses become oversubscribed, the College will start to implement a waiting list for each course - see section 9 for more information.

        8.2        Enrolment dates will be published on the College website and in the offer email sent to the student.

                8.3           Students applying after the closing date may be offered places, subject to availability.

        8.4        Offers are made in good faith based on the information available to the College at the time. The College reserves the right to change the courses offered to an applicant in light of curriculum and staffing changes. This means that very occasionally the College may find that it is unable to uphold the original offer made to an applicant if their combinations of courses cannot be accommodated at the point of enrolment in September. Where this happens the student will be notified of this as soon as possible and offered a place on an alternative course where possible. Applicants are advised to ensure that they accept offers from more than one institution to avoid disappointment due to unforeseen circumstances such as the withdrawal of a course in September.

        8.5        Offers made at enrolment will be unconditional, as the Applicant will already have received their GCSE grades.

9.         Waiting List

        9.1         Once courses become oversubscribed, the College will start to implement a waiting list for each course. Students in Year 11 will be considered ahead of those who have completed a year of study elsewhere, in cases where a course is oversubscribed

        9.2         Students on the waiting list are advised to apply for alternative colleges as they may not receive an offer of a place from Connell.

        9.3        Waiting list places are converted into offers when space is available on a particular course. These places are allocated on a first come first served basis to ensure equity and fairness.

        9.4        There are cases where a student may be put on the waiting list for their chosen course but also offered a place on an alternative course. Should a place become available on their first choice course, they will be given the opportunity to switch.

10.         Rejections

        10.1                The College reserves the right to reject Applicants based on a number of conditions (outlined below). This may happen at multiple stages of the application process, including but not limited to: initial application, interview and enrolment.

        10.2         An Applicant may be rejected based on the following conditions:

  • the Applicant’s predicted GCSE grades do not meet the College’s minimum entry requirements
  • the Applicant’s predicted GCSE grades do not meet the minimum entry requirements for the chosen course
  • the Applicant’s achieved GCSE grades do not meet the College’s minimum entry requirements
  • the Applicant’s achieved GCSE grades do not meet the minimum entry requirements for the chosen course
  • the Applicant has non-standard examination results and does not provide the College with Statement of Comparability from UKENIC
  • the chosen course is full and the waiting list is already at capacity
  • the Applicant misses the application deadline
  • the Applicant fails to provide an adequate personal statement
  • the Applicant does not have the required UK Residency or is unable to provide proof of indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
  • the Applicant’s reference is unsatisfactory
  • the College feels that they are unable to provide adequate support for the specific needs of the Applicant
  • the feedback from the interview indicates that the Applicant did not demonstrate commitment to the values of the College and the College Community
  • the College feels that the course chosen by the Applicant is not suitable and they are unable to offer an alternative
  • the Applicant fails to complete an action by the deadline given during the application or enrolment processes
  • the Applicant misses the beginning of term without reasonable notice and an adequate excuse.
  • the Applicant does not attend their enrolment appointment.

        10.3        If an Applicant feels they have been rejected for a reason not listed above, or                         they can provide proof that they meet the required conditions for admission,                         they are welcome to Appeal via the procedure outlined in section 11.        

11.        Appeals and Complaints Procedure

        11.1        An applicant who wishes to raise a complaint about any stage of the admissions process should do so in writing to The complaint will be responded to by the Student Recruitment Manager. For further information about how we respond to complaints please see our website

        11.2         Applicants have the right to appeal an admission decision if they feel that College has not correctly applied the admissions policy.

        11.2         Applicants who wish to make an appeal must first write to the admissions team at  identifying how they think the policy has been incorrectly applied to them or if there were exceptional circumstances which applied to them preventing them completing the admissions process as instructed. Appeals must be made within 10 working days of a rejection notification being issued

        11.3         The admissions team will then have 10 working days to respond to the appeal and must either explain in full how they believe that policy has been correctly applied or, if there has been an error, must offer the student the next available space on their chosen course, providing they meet the entry criteria.

        11.4        If an applicant disagrees with the appeal decision of the admissions team then they may refer their appeal to the Principal. The Principal will convene a panel consisting of 3 governors who will review the appeal and the response of the admissions team to make a final decision.

        11.5         An Appeal is not a guarantee that the decision of the College will be overturned. The outcome of the appeals procedure is final and binding on all parties.

12.        General

        12.1        The College may subsequently withdraw a place if false, incorrect or misleading information has been provided which has led to a place being offered or has advantaged the Applicant in the priority order for oversubscription. 

        12.2        During our enrolment process, Applicants will be asked to declare whether they have a criminal record or appear on the sex offenders register. Applicants may be asked to confidentially discuss their circumstances with a senior member of staff to greater understand the situation. This information may be discussed further with the Trust Regional Safeguarding Team. The college reserves the right to withdraw the offer of a place based on this information.

        12.3   A place at the College is secured by the student being available to attend the published start of term date. Only in exceptional circumstances will a place be held after the first day of term, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to notify the college as soon as possible of the circumstances which prevent them being available.

        12.4        Students will be set academic, attendance, and punctuality and study targets at the beginning of each year of their course. The compliance to their targets will be monitored regularly through the Performance Indicator schedule. Students are expected to meet, or exceed, their targets. However, each student will be treated as an individual and the staff will be mindful of any special circumstances which may have led to a student not meeting his/her targets.

        12.5        Progression to Year 13 is conditional on satisfactory completion of Year 12. This will be measured throughout the first year, and take into account attendance data (refer to attendance policy), attitude to learning (including any suspensions - refer to professional conduct policy) and academic performance.

                A student will not be permitted to progress into Year 13 if they are likely to fail one or more of their qualifications (e.g. attendance below 90% or progression exams at Grade E or below/Pass not achieved in the examined unit for BTECs/Criminology). Failing a qualification after 2 years is never in the best interests of a young person as it severely limits their chance of progression to employment or university. Therefore, if a student is deemed to be at risk of failing one or more of their qualifications a ‘restart’ on alternative courses, where possible, at Connell will be offered or another college will be recommended. We will always support a year 12 student in this situation to secure an appropriate alternative pathway working closely with them, their family and local employers and 3rd party support agencies such as career connect.

                12.6   Continuous failure to meet targets will forfeit the student’s right to progress on their course, unless there are exceptional extenuating circumstances recognised by the College. Details of this process are given in the Support & Challenge Policy


  1. Reference Template to be sent to schools.

Legal Surname of Student

Legal Forename of Student

Current School

Reference name

Year 10 Attendance (percentage preferred)

Predicted GCSE grades (please list)

Character Reference

Is the student Pupil Premium Or a looked after child?*

Has the student been a resident in the UK for at least the last 3 years?

*Looked After Children and those who qualify for pupil premium are ‘advantaged’ by the policy so this information is used to ensure this ‘advantage’ is applied


Responsible Staff

Emma Soper  

Approving body


All policies are available to stakeholders either on the College website or upon request from the College Office.