Rochdale Sixth Form College (RSFC) is the first Sixth Form College in the country to set up a Sixth Form College Multi Academy Trust.
From 1st April, the college, that has topped the Department for Education Performance Tables for A level progress for an unprecedented four consecutive years will not only convert to academy status, but be the lead institution in its very own multi academy trust – known as the Altus Education Partnership. The Trust aims to work collaboratively with primary and secondary schools to develop shared approaches to teaching and learning, quality assurance and resources.
Julian Appleyard OBE, Principal of RSFC said: “We are very excited about the establishment of Altus Education Partnership, the first Sixth Form College-led MAT in the country. It allows us to develop formal links with schools and we look forward to developing a family of schools within the Trust. Collaborative working is important to us, and we have shown in becoming the first sixth form college MAT, that we have a real appetite and more importantly, the capacity to work beyond sixth form college boundaries and contribute to raising standards with our primary and secondary colleagues.”
RSFC has developed a strong national reputation since opening in 2010 and the move to academy status and the creation of its own MAT follows the announcement by former Chancellor George Osborne in 2015 that sixth form colleges could apply for academy status. The Ofsted outstanding rated College is a National Support School and the Principal a National Leader in Education and has worked extensively over the last two years with schools in the region to raise student outcomes.
Mr Appleyard added: “We believe that by working with like-minded institutions, the Altus Education Partnership can make an enormous contribution to improving the life chances of young people. This is about the moral dimension. It would be easy for the college to sit back and not involve itself in helping improve the wider education system. I think this would be totally wrong. This MAT will be about building a family of schools, rooted in a shared moral purpose and that simply means doing right by our young people. High expectations, being ambitious for students and a relentless pursuit of improving outcomes will be the focus. We have been working towards the setting up of the MAT for a long time, have strong links nationally, regionally and locally and have the capacity and resource to hit the ground running.”
Bill Watkin, Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, added: “Congratulations to RSFC on establishing the Altus Education Partnership. Many Sixth Form Colleges work effectively with neighbouring schools, but RSFC is the first to formalise their partnership in this way. Sixth Form Colleges are among the most successful institutions in the education sector and their specialist expertise can hugely contribute to system leadership. The Altus Education Partnership operated by RSFC is a great example of sixth form colleges’ determination to help drive up standards in schools.”