Tonight we have celebrated in style, as current staff, students, alumni and special guests attended Runshaw College to mark our 50th anniversary – more photos to follow!

The evening’s event included a welcome buffet, tour of the college, photo opportunities, all accumulating to the main event – our 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony.

For 50 years, our corridors have echoed with laughter, debates, and the pursuit of excellence. Generations of students have begun their Runshaw Story, leaving their mark on our legacy. Our alumni, scattered across the globe, carry the torch of our values and contribute to society in myriad ways, and we were delighted to see so many people return today to mark this special occasion, including acting legend and comedian John Thomson, Para Olympian Olivia Broome, Olympian Holly Bradshaw, footballer Danielle Taylor-Gibbons, past Principals Simon Partington and Sir Bernard O’Connell.

Our Chair of Governors Alison Watson Bird joined in the celebrations and we also had fantastic singing performances from our PPP Musical Theatre students Eliza Baybutt, Charlotte Walker and Laura Tingle.

A special thank you to everyone for attending today, including:

Our high school and employer partners and distinguished guests, thank you for supporting us, working in partnership, and believing in our mission. Your collaboration continues to enrich our students’ experience and amplify the impact we have on the communities we serve. Our alumni, you are the living embodiment of our legacy. Your achievements inspire us, and your continued engagement strengthens our bonds. Thank you for keeping in touch, coming back often, and sharing your wisdom, to mentor the next generation. Our students and staff and governors, your insights and encouragement fuel our aspirations, we exist to pursue excellence together, and every day you facilitate this becoming a reality.

Our very own Runshaw Story

Fifty years ago, in 1974, Runshaw College was founded with a vision – a vision to nurture young minds, ignite curiosity, and empower generations. At first, as a sixth-form college, we served the needs of school leavers from Balshaw’s High School in Leyland, and Parklands High School in Chorley.

In 1984, a new principal arrived, to lead the college’s transformation into a tertiary college. Sir Bernard O’Connell was later knighted for his services to education and to the college, and it was a pleasure to welcome him back to Runshaw. By 1987, the college had received formal recognition for its exceptionally high quality in a government inspection.

In the 1990s, the college expanded rapidly, to accommodate increasing student numbers, as its reputation for high calibre teaching and strong exam results spread beyond the borders of South Ribble and Chorley. The college started to recruit in large numbers from the surrounding areas of Blackburn, Wigan and Preston.

For the next 20 years or so, the college continued to go from strength to strength, achieving superb links with the country’s top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. We continue to recruit around 5000 young people every year, from our local areas of Chorley, and South Ribble, as well as far beyond. Today we are Top Nationally in the Department for Education league tables, for progression to Russell Group Universities and Oxbridge, and the Telegraph newspaper also recognises Runshaw as one of the best colleges in the country for securing a place at Oxford and Cambridge.

Runshaw will continue to be a beacon of excellence – an incubator for innovation, critical thinking, and holistic development. We’ll embrace emerging technologies, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and prepare our students for a dynamic world. We will always demonstrate our commitment to pursuing excellence!