Oldham Sixth Form College


OSFC Becomes Google Reference College

OSFC Becomes Google Reference College

Oldham Sixth Form College (OSFC) is proud to be the first sixth form college in the North of England to be recognised with the prestigious Google Reference College status, and one of only three sixth form colleges in the UK. ‘Google Reference status’ is awarded for the outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes and recognises the College’s use of G Suite for Education in innovative ways. This new status means that OSFC will act as a reference point for other education providers, sharing best practice and offering advice and guidance.

OSFC has been using Google for Education tools for four years, making use of Google Workspace for Education Plus and 1426 Chromebooks. All subjects use Google Classroom daily in the delivery of their courses as a primary method of communication with students. Each course has developed a Google Site to support out of class learning, as well as progress, based on a universal college template developed via pilot testing and student focus groups. Google Analytics allows for the tracking of usage and for targeting students who may need further support in utilising the resources available. In September, all year 12 students were supplied with a Chromebook to support their studies. This will continue in subsequent years. For teaching and support staff, a Google Site provides current evidence informed practice, bespoke recordings and a Group for staff to share best practice, support peers with ITU (impactful technology use) in teaching and learning. This is supported by piloting the Google Certified Coaching Programme this year, with 32 teaching staff making great strides in implementing technology by working as coaches and coachees.

The introduction of various Google platforms to the college has seen a culture shift in approach to both teaching, learning, and technology. It has been transformative in terms of course delivery, quality of feedback, and the impact on students’ responses to feedback. They are quicker to act and more open to discussion about their work and progress, developing a range of metacognitive strategies and skills to enable them to take responsibility and access learning whenever they choose, beyond the confines of the College day. 

A focus on ‘ITU’ over ‘simply technology’ has improved engagement, efficiency, and communication of many elements of our day to day. As a result, OSFC was recently recognised as a National Leader in this area, receiving the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) Award for Curriculum Innovation. We were also designated as an EdTech Demonstrator School by the Department for Education in 2021, allowing other schools and colleges to benefit from their experiences and resources, developed during the pandemic.

A team of 13 staff coordinated bespoke support for schools and colleges via a series of meetings, webinars and access to the most relevant resources via an EdTech Google Site. This has been a huge success, we supported 62 primary and secondary schools last year, with another 28 working with us this year. We also work closely with the organisations in our Multi-Academy Trust in sharing best practice for effective ITU and in implementing Google products beyond the classroom for all staff.

Assistant Principal, Chris Arnold, said:

We are extremely pleased and proud to be in a position to provide Chromebooks for all of our students at the college. Following the generous allocation of devices by the Department for Education during the pandemic we have purchased 1200 more machines to ensure that students have the best possible learning experience while they are at the college. The benefit of having access to resources via one platform was invaluable during lockdown but also highlighted how technology could aid student progress by providing opportunities for engagement with subject knowledge and methods for students to test their understanding. We are excited to further embed the use of Edtech at the college to prepare our students for the next steps in their careers which will inevitably be closely linked with the use of technology.


“We’re delighted to welcome Oldham Sixth Form College to the Google for Education Reference School Program! Your school is doing exemplary things with Google tools”

- Google