Altus Monthly Update – No. 2

Dear Bamford Academy, Edgar Wood, Kingsway Park, and RSFC student, parent/carer, and staff member.

I hope that you are well and that you are enjoying the (slightly) longer days of March.

In this second update, please find information on: Bamford Academy joining the Trust, a visit by the archbishop of York to RSFC, 60 years of Kingsway, and the usual quizzes.

Now we are four: Bamford Academy join Altus

It’s a great pleasure to announce that on Wednesday March 1st Bamford Academy joined the Trust. I would like to extend a huge welcome to every single pupil, parent, and staff member at the school – we are really looking forward to working with you!

Wednesday was quite a momentous day for Bamford in another respect too – the school had a routine Section 8 Ofsted inspection. Obviously, the outcome of the inspection is embargoed until the publication of the report, but I do want to say how incredibly impressed I was with how pupils and staff at the school took the inspection in their stride. As soon as the report is published, I’ll share it in this update.


News from the academies

A new, regular piece that gives an update on what’s happening in our academies. Please note, I’ll operate the piece on a rotating basis and not report on each academy in every update. This month the academies in focus are RSFC and KPHS.

Rochdale Sixth Form College,

A visit to the college by the Archbishops of York and Manchester, written by principal, Karl Smith

The Archbishop of York (Stephen Cottrell) and the Bishop of Manchester (David Walker) visited the college this week and held an audience with our Theology, Philosophy and Ethics (TPE) students answering some very challenging questions. Questions asked ranged covered a wide spectrum of topics including faith, Christianity, the role of religion and the church in society to the more personal. As you would expect, our students were fantastic throughout. Thank you to all the students and staff involved here. 

In keeping with the theme of March 2nd being world book day and with the Archbishop being a celebrated children’s author, he began the ‘Ask the Archbishop’ session by telling our students three stories, which I will attempt to recount here.

Story One

A man dies and goes to heaven. Surprisingly, he is presented with two entrances. The first entrance has the sign, ‘Heaven’ above the door; the second, the sign, ‘Enter here for discussion about whether Heaven exists or not.’ There is a large queue outside the second door.

End of the first story.

Story Two.

A young girl is walking home from school. She sees an older lady drop what looks like a valuable vase, which consequently smashes on the floor, breaking into one thousand pieces. The girl’s mother, meanwhile, becomes extremely concerned that her daughter is very late home from school. The girl eventually arrives home. By this stage, mum is tearful, angry, and then, of course, relieved to have her daughter return. She asks her where she has been and why she is so late. The girl tells the story of the old lady and of the sad fate of the vase. The mother asks, ‘So you were late because you were helping the old lady pick up the pieces?’, to which her daughter replies, ‘No, I was helping her to cry.’

End of the second story.

Story Three.

A young man has a strong desire to be wealthy. In a dream, he has a vision to go and find a particular bend in a river, where on a hill lives a hermit, who possess a stone which holds untold riches. The next day, the young man immediately travels out to find the stone, finds the bend in the river and sees the hermit sitting under a tree on a hill. Having introduced himself, the young man retells the story of his dream. The hermit responds,  ‘All I have is this rock that I found in the forest earlier today,’ fumbles in his pocket and pulls out a diamond the size of a fist. The young man asks if he can have it, to which the hermit replies, ‘of course,’ and hands over the diamond. Very happy, the young man returns home with the precious stone. That night, however, the young man finds himself restless and unable to sleep - he keeps thinking about the hermit and the diamond. The next morning, the young man returns to the hermit and returns the diamond, saying that he no longer wants the stone, but instead the quality that enabled the hermit to part with his diamond for nothing and without regard to its material value – this is the real wealth that he was seeking.

End of story three. 

What do you think are the meanings behind each of these stories?

In the first story, are people more bothered or concerned with talking about a thing rather than realising or doing it when presented with the reality?

In the second, is time spent listening, consoling, or sharing a joy with others, more important than a thing or a valuable possession?

And in the final story, what is real wealth?… Is it material money? Property? Stuff? Or is it really health, love, friendship, or a freedom from material wants?

What do you think it’s important?

If you enjoyed reading these very short tales….why not try something a little longer with one of the books on offer & get reading?

Kingsway Park High School

It was (well, nearly) 60 years ago today, by headteacher, Simon Ward

A couple of weeks ago Jo Bateson, one of our cleaners, handed us the official opening booklet for Kingsway Secondary School. Her grandfather was the caretaker at the time (Mr Lamb). As you can see from the image below it was the 60th anniversary of the official opening of the school on Tuesday!



This really made me think about our role in the community and the enduring nature of our school. The staff and students may change over time but our school and what it stands for will steadfastly remain. 

So many of those people who have come before us have a "sense of belonging" to the school and have contributed to where we find ourselves today. I feel that our role is to continue the tradition of the school being at the heart of the community we serve. A true hub for the community. A place where all our community feel welcome, happy, safe and secure. 

(I love the line in the invitation that says ‘Ladies are requested not to wear stiletto heels’ – I wonder if the rule is still in place now…! If anyone would like a PDF of the full booklet, please just let me know and I’ll email a copy to you – Richard). 


Quizzes to try

Every month I’ll share a few online 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 please feel free to email me or just say hello next time I’m at your academy.

A particular thanks to all the RSFC students for all your kind words when I’ve met you in town, at the college, or at one of our other academies. Your smiles and kindnesses remind me of the daily contact I’ve lost now I’m no longer principal (Karl’s a lucky man), but they also give me added determination to ensure that every single young person we teach has the best, the happiest and the most enjoyable education possible.

With very best wishes and great pride,

Richard Ronksley

Chief Executive Officer

Useful Links




Kingsway Park High School

Turf Hill Road
OL16 4XA