The Manchester College

The Manchester College is one of the largest Further Education colleges in the UK. The College is the largest single provider of 16-19, adult and higher education in Greater Manchester, with more than 25% of Greater Manchester’s learning provision undertaken by the College.

Our campuses are spread throughout the city, serving diverse local communities.

The College’s five-year strategy - College 2020 - is being embedded across the city region, to respond to changes such as regional devolution, appointment of Metro Mayors, the Post-16 Skills Plan, the Industrial Strategy and the Northern Powerhouse. 

This includes what is likely to be one of the largest estate reshapes in the sector. The project will provide high quality teaching and learning environments for students, staff and employers including a new city centre campus.

Quality, employment-focused qualifications are complemented by our dedicated and structured approach to learners’ experience of college life. Young people and adults can take advantage of the breadth of The Manchester College’s offer to progress within the College, right through to degree and university-level courses in many subject areas.

Our size, scope and geographic spread enables The Manchester College to operate at the heart of Greater Manchester life as a thought-leader on key regional issues, in particular those stemming from devolution of skills and the reshaping of further education from 2017.

Our journey to amazing began almost 200 years ago, with our history tracing back to the very start of Sunday school education and the foundation of St. John’s Sunday School in Manchester. 

We’ve been progressive thinkers and innovators in education ever since then, and by 1921, Byron Street was one of the first day continuation schools in England, taking up residency in the old school premises at St. John’s Parish. By the 1950s, we were pioneering the way in technical education, with hundreds of young civil servants and post offices workers attending St John’s and Openshaw Technical College opening its doors for the first time. 

To meet the ever-changing needs of the educational community, Openshaw and St. John’s were soon merging to form The Central College Manchester, and later, The Manchester College of Arts (MANCAT).  Over in South Manchester, Fielden Park, Arden and Wythenshawe were merging to eventually form City College Manchester. 

We’ve been at the heart of Manchester life for decades, and by 2008 we had united as The Manchester College. Since then, we’ve continued to expand our offering and invest in our communities, opening new campuses and Centres of Excellence, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in learning and training. Today, we’re the number one provider of 16-19 education, adult education and higher education in FE in Greater Manchester. 

The strategy, agreed by our Governing Body in September 2016, consolidates the Manchester College’s estate to five sites - including a new campus in the city centre and significant remodelling and investment at the Openshaw Campus. 

These will significantly improve the quality and attractiveness of the learning offer for residents and employers. The rationalisation of the estate will substantially reduce operational costs, increasing the number of learners supported. By 2021/22, the aim is to create leading-edge Technical and Vocational Facilities for post-16 Education at the heart of one of the UK’s fastest-growing and most vibrant city regions.

Our Principalship, Board of Governors and Co-optees bring a wealth of experience and expertise. Their remit is to drive The Manchester College to excel in its mission and outcomes for our learners, working closely with stakeholders, colleagues and communities.

Between them, the team have decades of experience in leadership, education, business and communications. Engaging leaders from across our Group ensures that they draw on an exemplary range of complementary skills and expertise. 

The leadership team at The Manchester College is made up of our Principalship. Our chief executive, principal, vice principals and directors all have a responsibility – and an exciting privilege – to lead the College on its strategic journey and change the landscape of education in Greater Manchester.  Together, we’re supporting every student on a career journey, rather than simply enrolling them on a course, and investing more in improving teaching and learning than any other UK college.

The Manchester College Leadership Team

We were inspected by Ofsted in January 2019 – securing good grades across all our provision. 

The Manchester College

Key Facts

1955 from origins dating back to 1820.
Rachel Curry
Number of colleagues
1,300 with 1,100 teachers and 200 professional, technical and support
Number of students
23,000 across 16-18, adult and higher education
Employer partnerships
Working with 1,500+ across Greater Manchester
Currently teaching at nine locations across Manchester
We provide over 400 academic programmes for our learners each year from entry level to level 3 and above
Achievement Rates
Rated No.1 in Greater Manchester for achievement
Rated Good across all academic areas in January 2019
Financial Health grading
Rated good for past six consecutive years by the Education and Skills Funding Agency
Winner / shortlist of relevant education awards