One of the largest and most successful Sixth Forms in London and the South East has been praised by Bishop Patrick Lynch for carrying out the unifying mission of the Catholic church in welcoming students from many different backgrounds and supporting vulnerable young people, many facing significant disadvantages, to become confident, high-achieving students.
Bishop Lynch of the Archdiocese of Southwark in south London was the Principal Celebrant at a Mass marking 25 years of partnership between Christ the King Sixth Form and local schools.
He said: "Christ the King has for many years been welcoming students from different backgrounds and ethnicities, promoting them to obtain a good education, to become confident young people and to aspire to be the best they can be. It has also protected young people - often students from the most vulnerable family backgrounds -- and, finally, enabled young people to integrate with students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds."
Bishop Lynch praised Christ the King for carrying out the unifying mission of the Catholic Church, referencing Pope Francis' words on the need to welcome, promote, protect and integrate refuges to our communities.
The Sixth Form has almost 3,000 students across three sites.
Christ the King Collegiate Principal Rob McAuliffe told the congregation: "Our partnership with local schools has been in existence since 1992 when the sixth forms from a number of schools merged to create a sixth form college on this site, under the name of Christ the King.
"The partnership has always had a clear focus on academic excellence, strong student progression and a core theme of developing the whole person - giving students a set of shared values."
He said the partnership encompassed joint projects and curriculum initiatives, shared resources and approaches to teaching and learning.
In 25 years of educational change the values of the partnership have not merely endured but have flourished, said Mr McAuliffe. 'The young people of London and the South East have been the beneficiaries of that.'
He said he estimated that Christ the King has sent 19,000 students to university in the 25 years that Christ the King and its partner schools have been working together.
He added: "As a high achieving sixth form, based on three sites across south east London, Christ the King is an incredible place of study and work. It is a privilege to lead across such a caring, ambitious and successful community. For 25 years, Christ the King has provided students with an inspirational learning experience and has helped them achieve their goals and dreams. It is well placed to continue that tradition long into the future."
Among the alumni who spoke at the event was Maria Green, former student of partner school St Ursula's. Love blossomed for Maria, when she met her husband during A Level history classes at Christ the King; she wondered in her speech if her children were the first children of alumni. Maria studied History, Politics and Sociology at A-level and went on to study Human, Social and Political Science at Cambridge University. She then studied nursing at King's College London and is now an emergency nurse practitioner at Lewisham Hospital in south London.
Christ the King Sixth Form is oversubscribed and is one of the highest performing sixth form providers in South East London. In 2017, its students achieved an overall pass rate of 98% and A Level results were once again above national averages.
Over the last 25 years, more than 22,000 young people from across London, have completed their sixth form studies at Christ the King Sixth Form. Some 19,000 students progressed to University and other Higher Education courses, many on to highly competitive programmes.
The partnership schools are Bonus Pastor Catholic College, Conisborough College, St Catherine's Catholic School, St Columba's Catholic Boys' School, St Matthew Academy, St Michael's Catholic College, St Paul's Academy, St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School, Trinity CE School and St Ursula's Convent School.
Read more about Christ the King Sixth Form here: www.ctksfc.ac.uk