Academic Enhancement and Aspirations (AE&A)

Didsbury Sixth Form cornerstones.

We want our students to be able to thrive in whatever future pathway or career they choose. We offer this cultural preparation by giving students opportunities and experiences that would not otherwise be accessible to some pupils. In order for our students to open the door to the future of their choice, it is paramount that we also assist students in recognising the full spectrum of choices that are available to them.

The key aims of the AE&A programme at Sixth Form are:

  • To assist students with accessing both broader and more in depth knowledge within their chosen areas
  • To ensure that students maintain a broad outlook outside of their studies and are aware of current affairs
  • To prepare students for interview processes, either for universities, higher apprenticeships or jobs
  • To give students access to specialist preparation for entry to the most prestigious universities

Students will build an electives curriculum in addition to their A Level subject choices. They will select from the following electives options:

  • Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
  • Oxbridge
  • Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Science
  • Oxbridge and Competitive University Entry
  • Art Therapy
  • Feminism, Politics and Social Change
  • Escape Rooms
  • History of Art
  • Introduction to Media Production
  • Quiz and Trivia Club
  • A Journey to Middle Earth
  • Geography in the News
  • Mindfulness, Yoga and Relaxation
  • History Mythbusters
  • Voice Coaching: Delivering the perfect TED Talk
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Fitness (in our state-of-the-art onsite gym)
  • Current Geographical Affairs
  • Debate Club
  • Script Writing & Performance
  • Ethics Cup
Other opportunities

In addition, students can enrich their curriculum with a variety of possible Leadership & Service choices, including:

  • Student Mentoring
  • Volunteering
  • Charity events


Taking its name from Latin, meaning “opportunities about to open”, Apertura is a Laurus super-curricular programme designed to expose high achieving students to academic dialogue and independent research in preparation for applications to competitive universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.

Through lectures from visiting academics, small group supervisions and independent research, Apertura students are widely engaged in academic thought and conversation. The programme runs through Years 10, 11 and 12, mirroring the three years of a traditional undergraduate Oxbridge college community.

The programme of study is broad and is designed to afford freedom for students, lecturers and supervisors. Apertura students will encounter and investigate a variety of topics taken from different subjects across three strands, each year.

Alongside supervisions and lectures, the Apertura Research Project provides an opportunity for students to pursue an area of their own interest. At the end of each year, students share and discuss their research findings with an audience from the Apertura community.

Apertura students are supported through the programme in other areas too, to build their confidence and resilience and ensure their wellbeing.

The three strands of Apertura


Social Sciences

(Human Society & Interpersonal Relationships)


Physical Sciences & Maths

(Practical & Philosophical Knowledge)


(Human Culture)

Justice Chemistry History of Art
Law Physics Linguistics / Languages
Economics Geology Ethics
Psychology Philosophy Gospel
Politics Astronomy Comparative Literature
Sociology Logic English Literature
Anthropology   Classics
    Musical appreciation
    Digital culture