Paula Nolan
Paula Nolan
Vice Principal for Students

What makes SJR such a unique and exciting place to study is that we are a close-knit community. That is why support for students at St John Rigby College is considered “outstanding;” because we as a staff genuinely do care about each and every one of our students.

If you scroll through the links on this page you will meet the key members of the pastoral team that will ensure that your transition from high school to college will be a success.

We look forward to welcoming you to the St John Rigby family and meeting you in person once the new academic year starts. Until then, we want you to know that we are there for you. 

Stay well, stay safe and see you soon!

Your Progress Tutors

When you join us at SJR, you will be allocated a Progress Tutor. This person will work with you to ensure that you are happy, safe and making good progress with your courses. They will be your first point of contact to speak to about any issues or concerns that you have either in or out of College. Their role is a bit like your Form Teacher at High School.

You will meet with your Progress Tutor once a week during tutorial. This is a compulsory class which appears on your timetable. You will also meet for 1:1s throughout the year to discuss things like progress, exam techniques and plans for university, apprenticeships or employment once you have completed your studies with us.

When not delivering tutorials, the PT team is based in D002 and you can drop in and see them whenever you need to.

A Progress Tutor’s role is a supportive one but as part of that support, they may need to challenge you sometimes on things like attendance, punctuality to your lessons and your performance in subjects. They will work with you, your subject teachers and your parentsor carers to help you to be as successful as possible.
Ultimately, they are here for you and want to help you to be the best you can be.

Your Progress Tutor will be your biggest supporter, professional friend and guiding hand in College; ensuring that you’re never alone throughout your journey with us.

An ex-broadcast journalist, Lisa has interviewed the likes of Prime Ministers and popstars as well as reading the news on a number of radio stations across the country. She’s also been a contestant on a TV talent show….but she’s only telling you that because there’s no evidence of it on the internet!

Eleanor is a former history teacher who still has an obsession with history and Harry Potter (not necessarily in that order!). In her spare time, she can be found researching the history of witchcraft and dragging her poor family around castles and old houses.


Abbie is a former Science teacher with a particular interest in Biology. When she is not working, she can be either found renovating her house or cruising the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

Lucy is an ex-SJR student who left College 10 years ago and now works alongside her ex- tutors!
Jess is a trained Musical Theatre Practioner and takes part in various muscials across the North West. Jess also teaches ‘Boogie Bounce’ in college!
Sabrina is of Moroccan descent and alongside being a PT is studying for a Masters Degree in Psychology!

When Lucy is not in work she can be found doing either one of the following; giving all of her attention to her two gorgeous dogs, pumping iron in the gym or more than likely eating chocolate! She is a qualified RS teacher who has travelled to different places such as Dubai to experience the different cultures. 

Senior Tutors

If your Progress Tutor is like your Form Tutor at school, then your Senior Tutor is the equivalent of your Head of Year. You can speak to a Senior Tutor if your Progress Tutor isn’t around or if you have a more serious issue or concern. Senior Tutors and Progress Tutors are all Level 3 Safeguarding and Mental Health trained, so they are equipped to deal with all situations.
Alongside her role as Senior Tutor, Victoria also teaches English. She loves the drama of Shakespeare’s plays but her guilty pleasure is the more-modern drama of a well-known BBC1 Soap Opera.
Karl used to work in IT and was also a driving instructor. As well as working with Progress Tutors, he teaches Business and Economics.
Juliana is from Slovakia. She came over to England in 1995 to study English and Graphic Communication at University. Once, out of curiosity, she queued in a very long queue outside of a lecture theatre. The queue was so long that nobody at the end knew what they were queuing for. It turned to be an audition for a very small movie part. Did she get it?

Tutorial Lessons - FAQs

Here at SJR College, we believe in educating the whole person and our tutorial lessons provide students with the opportunity to consider a wide range of topics ranging from Careers and Employability Skills, to Wellbeing and Teaching and Learning.
Your tutorial sessions are with your Progress Tutor and the rest of your Tutor Group.
Your Tutor Group will be a mix of students from your Year Group at College who will be studying a range of different subjects and will have come to SJR from a number of different High Schools.
Students have one timetabled tutorial session every week.

Each tutorial session is 50 minutes.

Yes! These sessions are compulsory just like all of your other timetabled subjects and Values for Living lessons.
Tutorial topics include Resilience, Anti-Bullying Week, Driver Safety, Equality and Diversity and Budgeting, to name but a few. Some tutorial sessions will also provide the opportunity for students to meet with their Progress Tutor 1-1 to discuss their progress at College.

Support for parents

Helping young people learn how to be more independent is a fundamental part of our role. We encourage this through building their resilience through promoting positive wellbeing.  It’s vital that our students take responsibility for their own progress if they are going to find success at university or in a job. We provide a very supportive environment, with close monitoring and easy access to expert guidance. 

We believe that we are at our most effective when working in partnership with parents and carers. If your child studies with us, we will make sure that you are well informed and up-to-date on their progress. We do this in a variety of ways :

  • Parents’/Carers’ Evenings
  • Progress Reports
  • Newsletters
  • Email and letters

In return we ask for parents and carers to support us. We ask you to keep in contact with your child’s Progress Tutor, top call the College if your child will be absent and to avoid taking holidays during term time. Of course, parents also have a huge role to play in helping their children find the right balance between their college work, home life, social life and any paid work. 

Health and Well Being

We all need support every now and then and we know that for some, the current situation is proving difficult.

We can’t wait for you to get started at St John Rigby so you can be with friends again and make new ones too. In the meantime, if you need support, here are a few recommended sites:


Martin Malone
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The college employs a full time lay chaplain, Martin Malone. Through his role he provides various opportunities for staff and students to explore and deepen spiritual faith through voluntary prayer services, Masses, times of reflection and retreats. Working alongside the college pastoral team, our chaplain helps support individuals coping with the stresses of daily life and those faced with particular challenges such as bereavement, ill health and loss.


The college is fortunate to have the services of our
College Counsellor, Gillian Yorke, who is available to all students.

College Chaplain Martin operates an open door policy and you can drop in at any time, during your free periods, lunch or break times.

Martin and Gill are here to offer a non-judgmental listening ear. Please don’t hesitate to speak to them whenever you feel the need to do so.

Learning Support

The College has a wide range of resources and equipment that are available for students. Following your initial assessment meeting, specialist advisors at the College can match the resources we have to your specific needs. Support when you join the College can include:

  • In-class support,
  • Note taking,
  • Help with assignments,
  • One-to-one support,
  • Study skills workshops,
  • Loan of specialist equipment,
  • Software and exam arrangements.

At St John Rigby, we support the whole person, and seek to ensure your studies contribute to your personal development and overall well-being.

If you have any specific queries regarding Study Support, please contact Peter Dewhurst (Head of Department):


Financial Support

St John Rigby College has a very generous Student Bursary, probably one of the best in the North West, that is available for full-time students. This bursary will be available for students who enrol at College in 2020. The Bursary can be used to help with the cost of transport, meals, essential books and equipment, trips, print credits, specific clothing, and any other costs incurred as a result of attending college.

Types of Bursary

Currently there are two types of Bursary available:

The Guaranteed Bursary worth up to £1200 per year which is available to students who are:

  • In care
  • Care leavers
  • Receiving Income Support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves, or financially supporting themselves and someone else who is dependent upon them and living with them
  • Receiving both Employment Support Allowance (Universal Credit) and Disability Living Allowance or PIP in their own right

The Discretionary Bursary for those students where the following applies:

  • The student received Free School Meals at the time of leaving High School
  • The student’s parents/carers are in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit
  • If your household income is less than £22,500 
  • There are more than three dependants in the household
  • There are two dependants in the household who both attend a Further Education establishment and the household income is below threshold


You can apply for the bursary as soon as you have enrolled at College. Staff will be available at enrolment to help with this.

There is an application form for the Student Bursary – this will be available at enrolment and on our website.  Alternatively, if you do not obtain a form from either of these two methods, contact

If you are applying for the Guaranteed Bursary then you, the student, would need to fill out the form.  If applying for the Discretionary Bursary, a parent or carer should complete the form.

We have made the form as straightforward as possible but if you are unsure of anything please do not hesitate to contact  Remember that we want you to apply and will help you as much as we can.

We will aim to let you know if your application has been approved within 10 working days of receiving your application – however during busy periods, for example, at the start of the academic year, this may take a little longer.   If the application is approved, the approval date will always be backdated to the date that we received your application.

Yes, definitely!
We have had many students who initially did not believe that they would be eligible for the bursary, but when they did apply they were approved.  If you are not sure if you should apply then please contact and someone will contact you to discuss this further.

If you have any other questions relating to the Student Bursary then please contact – we want to do everything we can to ensure you are financially supported whilst at St John Rigby College and are more than happy to answer any questions.

University & Careers


Some of you may already know what you want to progress onto after leaving SJR, but many of you will not. This is nothing to worry about. You will get lots of great advice, information and guidance at SJR to help you make the right decision.

Many of you will consider progressing to university after two years with SJR. We take pride in making sure our students receive the very best support and assistance to help them progress successfully onto amazing and exciting opportunities once they leave.

When considering your options you will be helped and supported by our experienced team of Progress Tutors to ensure your application is of the highest standard it can be. Our students always get excellent offers from a wide range of institutions and your Progress Tutor will be there to help you decide which offers you want to accept.

The excellent team of subject teachers will then work with you over your course to ensure you achieve the best grades you can so you can successfully progress to university.

We look forward to working with you and helping you progress on your own journey into the your future!


While you are at St John Rigby College, we will make sure that you are exposed to lots of opportunities so you can build a toolkit of employability skills for your future roles in society.

During your time here our careers team will:

support you to understand and develop relevant employability skills for future careers;
work with your tutors to guide you to make informed and personalised decisions;
guide you through Higher Education and Apprenticeship applications, vacancy searches, CV writing and interview techniques;
host career events and career talks;
introduce you to leading employers and training providers in the UK;

The college has its own careers advisor, Diane Norburn. She is available for 1:1 discussions from day one of your time at SJR.

Diane has expertise in HE applications, apprenticeships and employer links and will be able to provide you with up to date information, advice and guidance on local job vacancies and employer developments and initiatives.


The Level 3 Programme is our most popular programme, the next step up from your GSCE studies.  You will choose from a wide variety of exciting and interesting A level courses and a range of Level 3 BTEC qualifications. It is a flexible programme over two years, which is ideal if you are planning to progress onto university, employment or a Higher or Degree-level apprenticeship.

Yes, it is possible to study a mixed programme at St John Rigby.

All students at St John Rigby will either take 3 A Level subjects, a BTEC Extended Diploma or a mixed programme of A levels and BTECs. Some additional subjects and Electives may be studied alongside your chosen three subjects.
You are also encouraged to participate in other extra-curricular activities or courses, to enrich your study programme and prepare you for your future career.

It is your choice. But you must think carefully about your interests and plans after leaving college and choose the courses which will help you to achieve this goal. For example, if you were thinking about applying for a university course in a particular subject such as Medicine, then this will mean that you would need to choose certain subjects – in this case Biology and Chemistry. For many higher education courses the exact choice of Level 3 course is not specified but it is always worth talking this through with college staff and the University.

Don’t worry! Choose subjects that interest you and in which you think you will do well.

Our dedicated HE+ Programme is structured to include tutorials, activities, events and support for students wishing to apply to Oxbridge or for Medicine, Dentistry, Vet Science and other competitive subjects.