Rochdale Sixth Form College (RSFC) has become the first sixth-form college to set up and lead its own multi-academy trust (MAT).
The college launched the Altus Education Partnership on 1 April after successfully converting to academy status. According to RSFC, the trust will work with "like-minded institutions", including primary and secondary schools, to develop a "family of schools" with shared approaches to teaching and learning.
Last month, Hereford Sixth-Form College became the first sixth-form college to convert into an academy. And in February, the Sixth-Form Colleges' Association (SFCA) said that 18 of the 90 sixth-form colleges in England were in the advanced stages of academisation.
New College Pontefract, which has also expressed an interest in converting, previously opened a multi-academy trust in 2015 – although it is not able to join it until it has become an academy.
'Working beyond boundaries'
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.”
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 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."
Bill Watkin, chief executive of the SFCA, said: “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.”