Altus Monthly Update – No. 8

Dear Edgar Wood, Kingsway Park, and Rochdale Sixth Form student, staff, parents and carers,

I hope that you are well and keeping relatively dry. And very good luck to all of you expecting GCSE, A level and BTEC results later in August.

By way of a distraction, the theme of this month’s update is serendipity. This is one of my favourite words and means a very unexpected, but very welcome, discovery – here are a few examples that I’ve bumped into over the last few weeks.


Two hares

The other day I was walking up a country lane (you might know the type; hedges on either side, the width of a single vehicle, with a run of grass up the middle where the tyres don’t run) when I saw two hares about half a kilometre away running down the wheel-tracks towards me. The wind was blowing away from the hares and towards me and this meant that they wouldn’t pick up my scent anytime soon, so I stood stock-still wondering when they’d notice me and how close they’d come. They kept on running and eventually stopped about 10 metres away.

You could tell that they knew something was up, but they weren’t quite sure. After a little while the smaller and younger of the two (a leveret), made a dash forward, changed its mind and, together with its older sibling, turned tail and ran back the way they came. All this took place in a about a minute, but the images and memory will stay with me – serendipity indeed.

Indiana Jones and the Long-Lost Friend

Last week, we went as a family to the cinema to see Indiana and the Dial of Destiny. My expectations were low – I’d read a few reviews that said the film wasn’t all that great, and I thought I’d be in for a pretty boring couple of hours. In the end though I really enjoyed the film; it had just the right amount of new stuff (time-travel) and old stuff (nostalgia) to keep me interested and remind me that this was after all an Indiana Jones film – the first of which I’d seen sometime in the 1980s.

And then, just towards the end of the film, Archimedes, the ancient Greek philosopher, turns up and I recognise the actor playing him. It’s Nasser, an old colleague of mine from over 20 years ago. All of a sudden I have my own bit of time-travel and nostalgia about working with him as a fellow teacher (he taught Theatre Studies), as a fellow union committee member (I think he was the health and safety rep), and as a friend (he and his wife baby-sat my son). It’s been a long time, good to see you again.

Tell me…

There’s a charity shop I sometimes walk past on my way to pick up milk and bread for breakfast. I always have a look in the windows as I’m passing because there can be a strange array of items that they’ve chosen to display. Usually, there are lots of cut-glass crystal glasses, old nick-nacks (great word that) and things I remember from my grandparent’s - often made from Bakelite (a rather old and toxic form of plastic). Passing by this Saturday, my eye was caught by a small, cardboard-boxed game called ‘Tell me… A merry game of questions with 1000 answers’. Loving the use of ‘merry’ as an adjective outside its usual association of Christmas, I went inside and bought the game.

The game itself is a version of one you’ve possibly played yourself - a spinner is spun, a pointer lands on a letter of the alphabet, a card is then picked with a category such as: a poet or an author, a word which makes a separate word when the first letter is taken away, a river, or a colour. You then have to name something in that category with the randomly selected letter.  So if the letter chosen was B, in answering the questions above you could say Burns (Rabbie), Bread, er – stuck on the river, and Blue.

It’s the historic nature of the illustrations on the box that’s most interesting though, here’s a picture:


What do you notice? What’s it telling you about the kind of society that existed back then (or maybe the one that people liked to pretend existed back then?) To give you a start, have a think about gender, ethnicity and social class of the young people in the picture – what’s being represented here?




A few quizzes

Click on these links for the BBC and Guardian news quizzes. And click here for some maths puzzles.

Please take care of yourselves and one another. And always feel free to email me or just say hello next time I’m at your academy.

With very best wishes and great pride,


Chief Executive Officer

Altus Education Partnership | College Road | Rochdale | OL12 6HY
Tel: 01706 769800

Twitter: @AltusEducation


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Kingsway Park High School

Turf Hill Road
OL16 4XA