What Life Will be Like for a Year 7 Student and Beyond . . .

One of the most exciting things about Coombe Wood School is its enhanced facilities and the opportunities that will flow from them, especially in sport and creative and performing arts. Many students will enthusiastically be on the school site for extended periods of time beyond a normal school day using the facilities and working with experts in areas that will enrich their life, after school, during evenings and at weekends. A Saturday morning at Coombe Wood School won’t feel like being in a normal state run comprehensive. It will be a vibrant and busy atmosphere, with children playing sport or learning to sing and dance. A typical Thursday evening will see children from Coombe Wood School staying after school to complete their homework, supported by members of staff, before going to use the music and drama facilities or our state of the art 3G floodlit football pitch. Each evening will feel different with a range of activities and age groups taking full advantage of the learning opportunities all shaped with the core values of the school – Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. The School will be a hub of enrichment; creating a facility which reduces the need for families to frantically move around South London, often missing the opportunity to have a satisfactory evening meal or adequate time and facilities to complete essential extended learning activities. In today’s world, clubs and societies can often place a strain on a young person’s life rather than enriching it. Coombe Wood School aims to change this by supporting children to complete any necessary extended learning tasks at school while enjoying access to an evening meal and space to wait for their evening club and society to begin, which we presume will be a lot closer to home than other opportunities.

On a typical day, many students will arrive early, from 7.30am, enjoying the breakfast club or taking time to catch up with a teacher or other member of the coaching staff who may be running additional structured support sessions in specific sports. The formal start to the school day, at 8:30am having been biometrically registered, will entail a short amount of time spent in form time with the students’ tutor. A ‘Tutor’ at Coombe Wood School will be a key individual who will get to know all their students, both pastorally and academically. Tutor time is in groups and will be supplemented by periodic 1-1 mentoring sessions. Contact between the tutor and parents will be regular, creating a powerful relationship between these people – student, staff and parent / carer.

Off to lessons: Given the academic nature of Coombe Wood School, there is a focus on core subjects, so a typical day is likely to involve both English and Mathematics lessons. Spending time on Literacy and Numeracy will provide a firm foundation for success in other subjects. English studies may involve either Language or Literature, perhaps with students spending time creating a diary entry for Scott of the Antarctic and then discussing, as a class, what creative effects they have used to show his character. Maths lessons work best when the basics are soundly delivered and then applied in problem-solving, showing the real-world use of Mathematics.

Traditional, written subjects will be interspersed with more practical subjects, in which students can truly be creative. Whether as part of the creative and performing arts academy or within the sporting and Health-Related Fitness (HRF) strands of the school, participation is key.  Other practical areas, like coding in Computer Science, offer opportunities for students to practise a different set of important creative and communicative skills.  Mathematics and HRF are both taught in sets, based upon ability, so that staff can conduct meaningful targeted intervention.  All other subject areas work best taught in mixed ability groups, where meaningful differentiation can ensure all students make expected progress.

Over the course of five one-hour long lessons, separated by break time, lunch time and afternoon form time (often used for assemblies), students will also study Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and Geography and History as full subjects, rather than packaged together as Science and Humanities. The study of a Foreign Language will also be essential for a well-rounded education and so all students will gain experience of learning a language, such as Spanish.

On a Friday, Year 7 children will have their games afternoon. This will always be the case, although the day will change as they move through the school.   These afternoons are designed to place students together in groups and provide access to both elite sports coaching and general participation for all in specific sports and enrichment activities. These groups continue throughout the year to ensure depth of knowledge. There is very little reliance on a rotational approach to sporting engagement.  We are firm believers in a year-round approach to specific sports, giving children the opportunity to find depth rather than breadth in their sporting participation. Games afternoons will also allow school sport teams to play inter-school competitive fixtures and enter National Leagues and competitions. Afternoon games are not be confused with Health Related Fitness (HRF) sessions which are located within the morning for one hour a week.  HRF is designed to deliver targeted intervention to ensure all students improve their skills. Afternoon Games is when we will see these skills applied in specific elite sports or in raising participation groups. Students will not be able to opt out of these health and well-being improvement sessions.

Later, as the children progress through the School, students will (with the appropriate information and guidance) make informed choices which will unleash the rest of their life.  We will refuse to allow students to make choices based upon a hunch or a favourite teacher. We want to ensure their choices are well-informed and with a life plan in mind. GCSEs can be the key that unlocks a future career path. The chosen options will be studied in depth over three years in Years 9, 10 and 11.

Coombe Wood School Sixth Form will open in 2020 and will offer students mainly A Levels and potentially two more vocational courses in Sport Management and Performing Arts. It is very important that when students join Coombe Wood School they realise it is in the first instance for five years until they reach 16 years old. Then there is an important choice about where to study next or what training to engage in. We must be clear that this may not necessarily be at Coombe Wood School. Places in our Sixth Form will be reserved only for those students who meet our Sixth Form Admissions Criteria and who are suited to our academic offer. There are a wide range of options available throughout the different Croydon educational institutions, Coombe Wood School will ensure students, at the age of 16, find their way into the place most suited to their aspirations. Coombe Wood School Sixth Form may not always be the answer for all students.