Parents and carers are a valued and vital part of the Priestley College community. We keep them updated on their children’s progress, about the support that is available both to them and their child during their time at college as well as general news and events.

If you have any concerns or questions please email Teresa Cullen at or alternatively please call the college on 01925 633591

Our Parent Handbook covers everything from a student’s first few days at college to the support for their wellbeing that is available throughout their time at college.

Questions and answers from the Parents' Information Evening

These are done initially in the summer of the first year with an outline reference and then ‘tidied up’ at the start of the second year in the light of results.  UNIFROG does have some issues which preclude a small number of students having their references entered.  In this case staff will hold these in another format.  Progress/personal tutors collate references onto the UCAS form and these are then checked a number of times before we send them.

When students are happy and have discussed with their tutors they will press the button labelled REVIEW AND SUBMIT on their application.  This alerts us that they are ready to send.  We do final checks and once we are happy we then send through to UCAS.  They only pay once for their application not each time they resend it.  Applications do not actually go to UCAS until we send them from our checking team.

This depends.  Some universities make offers based on grades in three A Levels (say AAA), in which case no AS grades do not ‘count’, neither do any additional qualifications, except possible Extended Project but that would be figured into the offer, so they might reduce it to AAB for a student with a strong EPQ.  Other universities make offers based on UCAS points.  These may accept AS Levels or they may not.  If you search the relevant course on the UCAS website it will show the accepted qualifications.  As a general rule most do not.  We do not sit AS Levels to gain points, more for vital experience of A Level exams and to allow students to study 4 A Levels initially.

There is not a college section of the personal statement, but we do provide a reference.  The personal statement is the students’ own.  We would recommend the following in terms of the restricted characters:

  • Make it about 75% about their academic achievements and about 25% personal
  • In the academic section don’t dwell on the courses studied as the unis know about these, make it about the things that make them stand out – additional work they have done, areas of study which really interested them and why, extra books they have read, podcasts followed, etc.

In the first instance the personal or progress tutors work with them.  There is extensive material on Google Classroom with advice.  Also whenever possible I invite university representatives in to check or they can submit them to contacts we have via myself to be checked over by university representatives.  They are encouraged to also discuss with relevant subject tutors as well and they are welcome to see myself or Ian if they want further advice.

Almost all of our applications are successful, in the last full data set (2020) 98% of our UCAS applicants received university offers.  It might be better to focus on the nature of the application so we can match the requirements of your son/daughter in terms of a successful application.  So, for example, they might want to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, to the Russell Group more generally (last year 14% of our students went to a Russell Group university), they might want to apply to a performing arts course, a sports course etc.  If your son/daughter comes to see me I can find something that meets their needs.

It does and this can be seen on the UCAS tariff points calculator where students can enter their qualifications or predicted grades to see their total UCAS points.

The cost is as follows:

For one application (i.e. applying to one university for one course) = £22.00

For two to five applications (i.e. between two and five courses, possibly at five universities, although you can apply for multiple courses at the same university) = £26.50

Students can only apply for a maximum of five courses.

They can apply for up to five courses in their initial UCAS application.  They can decide for themselves how ambitious to be.  We always suggest at least one aspirational one and at least one that they should be comfortably able to achieve.  Once they receive replies and hopefully five offers they will then pick a firm offer – the one they will go to if they get the grades, plus an insurance offer – one that should, ideally, be lower which they can fall back on if they do not meet the entry requirements for their chosen firm. 

Both before and after results there are opportunities for students who do not receive any offers, or any they are happy with, or who do not meet the entry requirements of their firm and/or insurance offers to make further applications.  There are systems called EXTRA and Clearing+ which allow more options if required.

Our tutors are aware of which students have which specific needs and will tailor their support to match these.  We are happy to provide facilities in the Base for students to work on their applications.  If students require anything additional they should not hesitate to ask.  In terms of declarations to universities it is important to be honest, tutors will not declare anything in our references without the student’s agreement but we encourage students with additional needs to be honest with universities who will not discriminate and giving full details will help them to plan provision and make decisions on who to make offers to.

At present, assuming nothing changes, it will be on Thursday 18th August 2022.

They will each do their own application and be treated individually by ourselves and UCAS. 

This depends.  If the student is estranged from their family and, therefore, cannot expect any support then they are treated differently to those who are not estranged who will be assessed against household income.  Household income includes parent(s)/carer(s) and any none parent/carer partner.  It does not include siblings’ earnings.

All the details of how loans are calculated can be found at there are documents and explanations of how calculations are made, what is taken into account, etc.  If you have very unusual circumstances and cannot find an answer I am happy to contact our designated officer at Student Loans to get an answer for you.

Yes, in effect the loans are not paid back as a traditional loan would be.  Whatever the amount the payback is levied at 9% of income over the minimum earnings (£27,295 p/a currently).  So the amount paid back is not dependent on the amount borrowed but on the income of the borrower.  Repayments continue at this level until either; the loan is paid off, or; 30 years elapse when the remainder is written off.  Also in the tragic event that a borrower sadly died the loans do not transfer to their estate and are written off.

Ofsted / College Performance

In our most recent Ofsted report inspectors found that ‘teachers ensure students develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their qualifications and in their working life’.

It went on to say: “A high proportion of students, many of whom do not have a family history of higher education, go to university.”

Students benefit from a nurturing and inclusive culture with effective pastoral support.

The college was deemed good across the board with inspectors also finding areas of excellence during their visit. In particular the Art and Design, Performing Arts, Music and Sport departments were acknowledged for their very high standards.

Inspectors praised the behaviour of students who they said were ‘polite and highly respectful of their peers, staff and visitors’.

Ofsted offers you the chance  to comment on your son / daughter’s experience at college. If you would like to provide some feedback you can do so here > Ofsted Parent View

You can compare Priestley’s performance against other schools and colleges via the Government’s website here > College Performance

“It was a positive endorsement of the work we do as a college"
A parents' view of Priestley
Useful information

For many parents and carers, finding time for yourself can be a challenge as you juggle family and relationships with your home and work life.  This can be especially true if you are supporting a child or young person with their mental health.

With the practicalities of day-to-day life, it can be easy to forget to look after your own wellbeing needs, as well as those of your children, which can lead to feelings of stress or being overwhelmed.  Factoring in regular time or activities for yourself will hopefully allow you to enjoy the good moments in life more and to find strength during difficult times. Find out more here > Self care for parents


Click here for the full Careers Programme

The Senior Manager in charge of careers at Priestley College is Mark Eccleston (Assistant Principal-Student Support Services).


To speak to our careers team call 01925 633591.

At Priestley College we understand the nature of employment in the UK and beyond is constantly changing, with an increasingly competitive job market and rising university fees and the ‘gig’ economy.

In order to help inspire our students to meet the challenges set by these changes, we aim to provide a comprehensive package of impartial Careers Education Information, Advice and Guidance.

This CEIAG is available to students during the application process to college, during their studies, and to former students. A Careers Adviser is available for advice and guidance at all college events such as open and interview evenings as well as during enrolment.

All students have access to high quality CEIAG from experienced staff. This enables them to understand all available options and make informed decisions. It means they can plan their progression from college be that in Higher Education, an apprenticeship option including Higher/ Degree Level Apprenticeships, or some other progression route.

Relevant Labour Market Information is made available to all students and the college sits on the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Data and Labour Intelligence Market Steering Group. This group draws on data sources including national databases (eg. Nomis and Employers’ Skills Survey), local data sources (eg. EMSI Analyst toolkit and the ESFA data cube) and employers, to inform local skills and education priorities.

Career pathway and progression information is available on each course/subject page of the college’s website, allowing students and parents to research LMI directly relating to their existing or future study programmes and career aspirations.  This is also promoted positively through tutorials and research tools that all students have access to including Unifrog and the college website

The college CEIAG work is led by the Assistant Principal Mark Eccleston (Student Support Services) who is part of the college Senior Management Team.  The team underpinning this work includes the following individuals:

  • Adam Bird – Marketing, Admissions and IAG Manager
  • Mark Edgington – Senior Tutor responsible for Work Related Learning & Enrichment
  • Chris Lee – Senior Tutor responsible for Progression
  • Ian Edge – Careers Adviser
  • Charlie Dunbar – Careers Adviser
  • Pam Gardner – Industry Placement Coordinator
  • Ruth Saastamoinen – Work Related Learning / Work Experience Project Post

The eight Gatsby benchmarks outline current best practice in CEIAG and as a college we are committed to ensuring our provision meets and exceeds these benchmarks. We are keen to ensure the opportunities and support we provide for students on all our programmes of study are of the very highest standard.

Much of this work takes place through the weekly tutorial system, and is recorded and evaluated using the Unifrog system (see below). In addition, we organise a programme of work experience, a series of speakers, workshops and visits throughout the academic year to provide students with the latest information about the local, national and international labour market, as well as specialist presentations from representatives of many professions and university departments.

CEIAG best practice is shared via The Challenge Academy Trust inter-school CEIAG Hub.  As a member of TCAT the college takes advantage of its partnership with Oxford University to ensure all students are challenged to reach their full potential. In addition, there are regular presentations about volunteering opportunities, which for many students are a crucial way of confirming their career ideas. The full programme is available above.

Advice and guidance is available from our qualified and experienced Careers Advisers who both hold the Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance. They are available in person, as well as via telephone and email every day, to offer one-to-one impartial guidance to students and their parents / carers, typical areas for discussion include;

  • Long-term career choice
  • Subject combinations
  • University applications
  • Student finance
  • Apprenticeship & training opportunities
  • Job search techniques
  • Professional CV and letter writing

The college careers advisers deliver sessions within the tutorial programme to support our team of progress and personal tutors. There is a referral process between all college tutors and the careers advisers to identify students at the point when they will most benefit from one-to-one advice, as well as those at risk of having their college place withdrawn in order to prevent them from becoming NEET.

Careers advisers also liaise with a range of statutory agencies and partners such as the local authority ‘Warrington Life’ team to support students on completion of their studies at college.

All our classroom and individual careers work is supported and enhanced by a wide range of online resources as well as our Careers Moodle/Google Classroom pages, which all our students can access via any internet enabled device. This contains a wide range of resources, including labour market information, for students to use as part of their own career development.

The college self-assesses its CEIAG internally using quality assessment tools including the Careers and Enterprise Company ‘Compass’ tool and its own Gatsby criteria recording systems.  The Operations Management Team ensure that CEIAG is embedded across all faculty and pastoral areas of the college.

Priestley prepares its students for their next steps in many different ways. As well excellent advice and guidance across all areas of the college, different tools are used to help ensure their next step is a smooth one. For example, your child will keep their own unifrog – a sort of online diary of their success and achievements at Priestley. This log helps them to submit the strongest applications to university. You can read more here > Unifrog

Student Finance

Student Finance is obviously a big factor to consider for parents when their child is preparing for university. We would advise spending some time on this website gathering the information you need to make an informed decision > Student Finance

This short video is also very helpful.

Applying to University
We will support your child through their university applications, but if you want to find out more about this process this website would be a useful start > UCAS

For more information about preparing for university click here


Apprenticeships / Careers

We have dedicated sections on our website explaining how Priestley will support students who choose to go into apprenticeships or employment after college. Priestley has the matrix accreditation, which assures you that we are offer impartial advice, the only purpose of which is to ensure our students choose the option that is best for them.

In the meantime, the notgoingtouni website has links to live apprenticeship opportunities and other information so is a useful place to look when your child is planning their future.


At Priestley College we expect 100 per cent attendance at all timetabled sessions.

All the evidence suggests that those students who sustain a high level of attendance will be more successful with both coursework and exams. To help us monitor attendance an electronic register is taken at every timetabled session and we regularly produce attendance reports.

If students know they are going to be absent from college it is their responsibility to let the college know before 8.30am on the day of absence. They can do this by:

  • Informing Personal Tutors/Subject Tutors/Student Services in advance
  • Telephoning the absence hotline on 01925 633591
  • Emailing


If a student reports their own absence without any supporting medical evidence, this will be recorded as unauthorised.

If a parent/carer reports a student absence, this will be recorded as an authorised absence.

Repeated unauthorised absences may result in initiation of appropriate cause for concern procedures and contact with parents/carers.

This guide sets out to explain the ways in which the college regularly checks on student progress while also attempting to raise standards of achievement. We feel it is important that parents know about the systems and procedures we use since the critical factor for students’ success is the effective working together of students, teachers and parents. Monitoring Progress

How to register for online payments

Staying safe online

Parents of Priestley College have exclusive access to Elevate Education’s Parent Webinar Series: Empowering Parents to Reinforce Study Skills at Home.

Elevate coaching



Our latest Tutorial Newsletter > January 2021

If a student has been unsuccessful with all five of their choices, or if they decided to decline all their offers, they needn’t wait for Clearing. UCAS Extra is their opportunity to apply for a new course and it’s available now. A student will know if they can use Extra because it will appear as an option in UCAS Track. If your son or daughter is eligible, it’s important they think carefully about what they want to apply for before entering the details in Track.

They should get in touch with the university or college to check whether there are still vacancies, they can then add their choice in Track and UCAS will send their application to the university. If your son or daughter accepts the offer, they are committed to it, which means they can’t apply anywhere else. If their offer is declined the student can apply for a different choice through Extra providing there’s still time.

If your son or daughter isn’t holding an offer by mid-July then they’ll be eligible to use Clearing once they have their exam results.

UCAS Tariff Points – calculate your entry requirements

Whether they’re starting to think about what they might like to do when GCSEs are over or whether they’re 18 and making plans for adulthood, this guide will help you understand what vocational choices your children have, how you can support them and ideas on what they can do now to help them stand out.

This guide includes:

  1. How to talk your teen about their future;

  2. Virtual work experience – what it is and why it’s so important;

  3. A summary of all vocational options after GCSE and sixth form;

  4. Apprenticeships – why they’re of value and whether they’d suit your child;

  5. Other options, such as internships, gap years and starting a business.

Request Support

You can request for your child to receive support from our Well-being Team here
College News

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WARRINGTON has launched an exhibition celebrating the town’s proud wire heritage – and Priestley students have played their part. The Wire Works exhibition runs

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