Cobham Free School takes pupils from 4 years old (Reception) through to 18 years of age (sixth form). There are two departments; junior (which includes a lower and upper school for pupils 4 -11 years) and a senior (for students from 11 years upwards). The sixth form is planned to open in September 2019.
Pupils entering the school in the junior department are able to transfer into the senior department without being part of a secondary admissions process. There are also additional spaces for external applicants for entry into Year 7.
The sixth form will be selective, with academic results at GCSE being used to assess which pupils will be accepted into Year 12. External candidates will also be considered for entry into the sixth form as part of the competitive process.
Although the junior and senior departments are currently located over two different sites, in the future only the lower school will remain at the Old Police Station in Cobham; the upper school (Key Stage 2), senior and sixth form will be based altogether at the Munro House premises.
Cobham Free School is a single academy trust with a governing body setting the strategic direction and an Executive Headteacher leading the operations of the school.
The Executive Headteacher is supported on the senior leadership team by a business manager overseeing the financial operations, a Head of Junior, (managing Reception to Year 6) and a Head of Senior (managing the secondary provision).
The leadership structure also includes:
- deputy heads for each department with specific responsibilities for managing pastoral and academic areas
- phase leaders (overseeing lower and upper schools in the junior department)
- subject coordinators (junior department)
- Heads of Year (senior department )
- Heads of Subject Department (senior department)
The all-through curriculum has been planned to ensure there is progression across the phases from Reception through to Sixth Form. Pupils study a traditional range of subjects, with a strong focus on numeracy and literacy. They are prepared for national tests and external examinations, and all senior pupils are expected to take Ebacc subjects at GCSE. We do not offer vocational subjects but aim for all pupils to achieve success in academic disciplines. Our sixth form, which is due to opens in 2019, will be selective based on GCSE performance and will offer a range of traditional A level options, valued by Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.
Further information about the CFS curriculum offer can be found on the junior and senior department pages of this website or by contacting the Director of Studies (Senior Deputy) or Teaching and Learning Leader (Junior Deputy) via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At Cobham Free School we believe that assessment is a vital tool to help us track pupil progress. We define assessment as an insight into where pupils currently are in their learning journey, where they need to be and how best to get there. We believe assessment must be student centred and focused on guiding pupils in making the progress required to fulfil their academic potential.
Cobham Free School has designed an assessment reporting framework to track and monitor pupil progress across the whole school, from Reception through to Sixth Form. Pupils' academic achievement is rated against four thresholds; Foundation, Developing, Secure and Excellence. Each rating level is linked with expectations for future attainment and pupils are tracked closely to ensure they are performing in line with their forecasts. Accurate and regular assessment means that any pupil falling behind can be picked up quickly and offered appropriate intervention.
Teachers at Cobham Free School use a range of assessment techniques (both formative and summative) to ensure the curriculum is appropriately differentiated to meet each pupil’s individual learning needs. We understand that assessment is a powerful tool in raising achievement and therefore embed Assessment for Learning (AfL) practices into our curriculum, teaching and pedagogy.
We feel that summative assessments are useful indicators of current levels of achievement, but equally valid is the qualitative insight into pupil understanding gained continuously by our highly skilled practitioners. Examples of formative techniques used across the school include; guided group work, peer and self-assessment, diagnostic marking, observations of pupil learning, verbal feedback and plenary reviews. Information on summative assessment can be found on the junior and senior departments pages of this website.
CFS in the process of becoming an accredited ‘Thinking School’ and our approach to teaching and learning uses a number of strategies to encourage students to reason at a high level. Students in all parts of the school use a number of ‘Thinking Maps’ across subjects for planning and organising their ideas. Research strongly suggests that encouraging resilience and a ‘Growth Mindset’ (the belief that abilities are not fixed but instead with hard work and determination one can succeed at anything) has a tremendous impact upon achievement. As a result, students are consistently encouraged to never give up and see failure and finding things difficult as an opportunity to learn.
We believe that students need a knowledge-based curriculum to ensure they have solid foundations across a range of subject areas. We feel that a structured, well-planned curriculum which offers appropriate progression and builds on prior learning, is the best way to prepare students for success in public examinations and equip them for their future careers.
The focus on imparting knowledge does not mean that we dismiss the value of pupils acquiring skills and indeed, feel that schools should offer a balance of approaches. However, we also recognise that pupils cannot be taught skills in a vacuum and benefit from expert, teacher-led instruction in order to acquire secure subject knowledge as a platform for their learning.
Staff are encouraged to use a range of techniques to promote pupil learning and have been trained in using Kagan structures, (active and cooperative learning methods) and Precision Teaching combined with direct instruction, to increase learning fluency and improve recall of facts.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC)
Our traditional, academic curriculum is enriched with opportunities for pupils to explore the world beyond the classroom and we place a great value on SMSC education. We aim to make students active participants in a global society, to encourage them to accept, embrace, and celebrate cultural diversity, to foster sensitivity towards others and to instill in them a sense of concern for and awareness of the world.
Additionally, each department has developed its own set of distinct core values which pupils adopt to contribute to the well-being of the whole school community. The values include: collaboration, consideration, respectfulness and tolerance.
We promote the British values outlined in the government’s 2011 Prevent Strategy; democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. These values are reinforced in a number of ways, including through our SMSC and behaviour policies, curriculum and pastoral systems. Some examples of how we have embedded these values throughout the whole school community include:
Democracy - a democratic process is employed for important school decisions, such as the selection of the Head Boy and Head Girl. Pupils also learn about democracy through ‘mock elections’ mirroring national leadership campaigns.
Rule of Law - the codes of conduct for behaviour, and attitudes reinforced within the school, have been drawn up to teach pupils about the importance of following rules and abiding with the law.
Individual Liberty - pupils are empowered to make independent choices and know their rights and freedoms, while respecting boundaries.
Mutual Respect - our core CFS Values promote mutual respect; all pupils are allowed to express themselves in a safe and respectful community.
Tolerance - students are equipped with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and are given opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community
CFS was one of the first schools in the country to adopt a cloud-based solution to technology. Our forward looking approach to ICT includes giving all pupils access to a Chromebook laptop and they are able to use the Google Apps for Education platform to organise work on their own Google Drive in ‘the cloud’. The Google Apps for Education are highly interactive and positively encourage collaboration through the sharing of documents and simultaneous real-time working. The easy access to the World Wide Web and a variety of online learning materials means that the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is fully integrated into our curriculum model.