Horizons A Level Thumbnail
Download our PDF A Level Horizons Brochure 2021/22

Horizons Vocational Thumbnail
Download our PDF Vocational Horizons Brochure 2020/21

At Runshaw, we want all our students to reach their full potential. For our most able students, this means developing their passion for particular subjects, achieving A* grades at A Level, then gaining a place at a prestigious university, on a graduate apprenticeship or in a competitive career.   

The needs of our students always come first, so we provide an unrivalled range of additional activities to equip them with the skills and experiences they require to excel in their academic studies and achieve their career aspirations.  As a result, last year 10% of A Level grades at Runshaw were A* grades, and over 400 students progressed to prestigious universities. We are especially proud of our 2017 record-breaking AS cohort, with our students securing 21 Oxbridge offers and 64 offers for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary courses.

We are very keen to start our Horizons programme early, with many inspiring opportunities for academic stretch and challenge available across all curriculum subjects while students are still at high school, beginning in Year 9 with our Oxbridge Bound Day. These events extend knowledge above and beyond the syllabus whilst developing important communication and thinking skills to help prepare students for their post-16 studies. Students from our partner high schools are always extremely positive about their experiences, including our annual Masterclass Day and the challenge of a range of competitions such as The Sophie Scholl Award.

On enrolling at Runshaw, there are many further options available depending on students’ individual interests and needs. For example, Oxbridge and prestigious universities support, subject-specific academies, online CV development and a wide range of enrichment, volunteering and experience of work activities. Please read on to find out more

Clare Russell,

Make the horizon your goal; it will always be ahead of you! William Makepeace Thackeray

Horizons programme table

What’s on the Horizon?

The Horizons programme provides a wide variety of opportunities starting with the Oxbridge Bound session for year 9 students, through to subject-specific activities, competitions and our annual master-class day; all to stretch and challenge the most able. These opportunities extend knowledge above and beyond the syllabus whilst developing important communication skills and help to prepare students for post 16 studies. Students from partner high schools are extremely positive about the masterclasses they have been involved with: “I really enjoyed the day and the lessons were really fun and interesting”, “It has been a really great day with lots to learn”.

At Runshaw, able students in every subject have the chance to join an Academy which offers extra activities in addition to their normal lessons. This gives students the opportunity to stretch themselves and explore their subjects beyond the examination syllabus.

For example, in the Music Academy, students have the chance to join the Chamber Choir, the College Band, the Jazz Club and various ensembles. Science students can join the Medical Club or the Science Club. Business students can study for an Institute of Leadership and Management Award, an accounting qualification or take part in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ competition.

We, therefore, thought it was appropriate to have a Runshaw Academy for 14-16 pupils who are able, gifted or talented. Our partner high schools make provision to support such pupils and our Young Students’ Academy is designed to supplement this work.

Aims of the Runshaw  Horizons programme:

  • to provide a programme of  interesting and challenging events  for Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils who  are able, gifted or talented
  • to provide activities which stretch  students and develop their skills,  knowledge and ability
  • to take students into studies beyond the examination  syllabus
    to widen students’  experiences and support  their personal development
  • to prepare students for post-16 study
  • to recognise and celebrate excellence
  • Academies and Enhancement

    Helping your passion for learning – Academies

    At Runshaw, Sixth Form students will have the opportunity to join Academies. Each Academy provides opportunities for students who wish to challenge and stretch themselves and go beyond what is taught in the classroom. The following are just three examples of Runshaw’s many Academies:

    In the Science Academy there are many activities to get involved in including:

    • designing and launching your own rocket
    • you can experience the sights and smells of hands-on Biology
    • work towards a nationally recognised science qualification
    • present your work at a gala evening

    In the Music Academy you can:

    • join the Chamber Choir, Big Band or various ensembles: Brass, Clarinet, Saxophone, String
    • participate in master classes from visiting musicians: for example, our former student and international opera star, Amanda Roocroft led a master class rehearsal at the college with the Lancashire Sinfonietta.

    In the Sports Academy, you can:

    • benefit from an individual development programme which includes specialist skills, appraisals, personalised support and mentoring
    • keep in peak shape through fitness testing and psychometric assessment
    • make use of our outstanding facilities and be part of the top college for Sport in the North West since 2000!

    Download this leaflet to find out more about the Sports Academy.

    Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

    Students with a passion to study a particular topic in great detail can apply to take the Extended Project Qualification alongside their A-level studies. This is equivalent to an AS level qualification and involves researching a topic of interest, preparing a report and presenting findings to a small audience. Each participant is assigned a mentor to guide them through the process of title development, research and write-up.


    Each year, a group of our students form a team to enter the ‘Debating Matters’ competition. This is a national competition for sixth form students designed to promote a study of current contentious issues and promote clear arguments and debate.

    Work Experience

    We have a dedicated Work Placement Unit, which offers opportunities for work experience for all students, taking into account their course commitments. (For AS students, this is usually in the week after their end of term in July.) We also support students who find their own work experience placements in their free time.

  • Prestigious Universities Programme

    We currently have over 50 ex-Runshaw students studying at Oxford and Cambridge universities. The Oxbridge selection process is unique, so special assistance is provided using the expertise which Runshaw staff have built up through their relationships with colleagues at these universities.

    Practical help with applications, personal statements, aptitude tests and interviews is also given. Runshaw is the only state sector school or college to have produced TWO presidents of the Cambridge Students’ Union: Pav Akhtar and Laura Walsh. Both have visited the college to give guidance and information to prospective Oxbridge applicants.

    They are a real inspiration and show just what can be achieved by Runshaw A-Level students.

    Prestigious Universities Programme

    The PUP includes guest lectures on the requirements of prestigious universities, talks from visiting academics, contact with former Runshaw students who have been successful at prestigious universities, and the chance to make a residential visit to Oxford or Cambridge.

    The programme is designed to demystify the application process and to clarify what prestigious universities are looking for. Above all, it provides huge encouragement to students who are considering making an application to one of these universities.