Basic Information & Location
Abbey College, Manchester is located in the heart of Manchester city centre. The school is a member of Davis Laing and Dick (DLD) college, having two other sister schools in London and Cambridge. Its educational offering has changed since 1990, from being designed from A-Level retaking students to now being a GSCE, Foundation and A-Level college for both local and international students. According to the 2015 report by Independent Schools Inspections (ISI) , the college has been described as ”highly successful in achieving its aims to guide students to achieve academic success”. The class of 2020 has produced record breaking examination results, 52% of examinations taken scored an A* or A grade, while 78% of examinations taken scored an A*, A or B Grade.
The programmes offered are flexible and convenient, catering the need for different groups of students. Whenever the student applies, they can have relevant suitable choices. Students aged 14 to 16 can choose among one year, 18 months and two year GSCE programmes, base on their own level and need. Students aged 16 to 19 who are going to study A-Level, can choose either 2 or 3 years programmes. There are also one-year intensive programmes for students re-taking A-Level. Students who have studied the first year of A-Level at a different school and wish to join the college for the second year are also welcomed. The college can advise students on transferring examination boards. It has experience in successfully enabling students’ transition into the upper sixth year.
The Combined Studies Programme is a new pathway leading to a university degree or degree with a foundation year at selected universities. It can be taken over one or two years. Two-year students would be expected to have 5 GCSE passes. One year students would have studied a Year 12 or Year 13 Level 3 course. There are three universities accepting the programmes: Aston University, Chester University and Teesside University. Academics from these universities would visit the college and run workshops in subject areas such as Business, Product Design, Engineering and Science. Teesside University even runs a three-day residential course in which students are able to use state of the art equipment and investigate real life scerios and projects. This compulsory unit is assessed and students gain university credits towards the programme.
As for students targeting at Russell Group universities, International Foundation Programme is a suitable choice. It is usually delivered over one year, 18 months or two years. Students have a choice of six pathways, including business, engineering , medicine, creative arts and so on. All programmes are accredited by the Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE) and offer opportunities of progression to the vast majority of UK universities. For 2017, 85% of students from the programme secured places onto their first choice degree course at their first choice university. Plus, there are a total of 30 students have gone on to undertake their studies at Russell Group universities.
The main characteristic of the college is small class size, having approximately 220 students, with 6 to 8 students in a class. This approach is very personal and means that students are focused on their studies and are given lots of attention from teachers to maximise attainment and fulfil potential. Teachers can also spend more time assessing each student’s work and giving verbal and written feedback on a one to one basis.
Pastoral Care & Boarding
Although the college does not provide accommodation, it arranges lodgings with local families for students who aged under 16. Alpha Plus Education Limited (APEL) would help to arrange accommodation for older students, either lodging with a host family or sharing a self-catering flat in an accommodation block, supervised by resident staff and managed by APEL. Students over the age of 19 can make their own accommodation arrangements, which must be approved by the college.
Extracurricular & personal development
Aside from academic achievement, the college values students’ extra-curricular development. Among the nine assessment of ISI, the college has been graded Excellent for three criteria, including the contribution of extra-curricular provision, pastoral care and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students. The Enrichment Programme in school is diverse, including a range of sports like football and table tennis, other activities such as creative writing and photography. The college has even launched an exciting new course for aspiring footballers in collaboration with International House. Boys aged 16 plus can study A-Level or International Foundation Programme whilst playing football every weekday afternoon. This new programme is a unique opportunity for students to gain qualifications for entry to top universities alongside intense football training which could lead to playing professional or semi-professional football.