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Transformation from low to highest performing Further Education College in 10 years

In May 2011, Highbury College topped the league tables for Further Education Colleges in England. Boasting a ‘success rate’ of 92.2 per cent – calculated from a combination of exam pass rates and drop-out numbers – it has beaten 233 FE colleges to claim first place.

When Highbury College Principal & Chief Executive, Stella Mbubaegbu took up the position in 2001, the college was operating from obsolete buildings and suffering from poor inspection reports. The brand new Campus represents the culmination of a development programme which has been years in the making. The facilities incorporate the latest sustainable technology and improved accessibility, underpinning Highbury’s vision to be a world-class College for the 21st century.

When AWW architects were first appointed by Highbury College in 2005, the estate was in poor condition, carried a significant ongoing maintenance liability and did not provide an environment to support the delivery of top class education. Space was plentiful, but of very poor quality, with many buildings having reached the end of their useful life.

The landmark City of Portsmouth Centre opened in 2007, enabling the College to improve links with the City’s commercial sector and the adjacent University. Facilities include eight full scale commercial teaching kitchens and an 80 seat public restaurant.

When it opened Ms Mbubaegbu said: “In this building we have not just got bricks and mortar, we have got the feel of Highbury. We wanted a look and a feel about it that promoted the College’s values that stated this is student-led, staff-enabled and that demonstrates our links with Portsmouth. I have such a clear vision that Highbury is here to enable all students to succeed and it is their success that makes it so worthwhile.”

The £25M new Campus Headquarters opened in 2009, providing a wide range of teaching and learning facilities and ‘real life’ work place environments enabling the College to deliver top class education.

Working with the College and the wider Project Team to design and deliver a series of high quality educational environments, AWW are proud to have contributed to Highbury College’s table topping success.