Please find below the questions that you have submitted to us and our answers.

Question: Does the Section 10 Consultation help with the planning application for the School?

Answer: No, this consultation is not related to any planning applications surrounding the new school, this will take place separately.  It is part of our statutory duty to undertake a public consultation on whether Folio Education Trust should enter into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education prior to the planned opening of the school in September 2018.  We would encourage you to complete our short online survey which can be found at because we want to hear your views and act on any feedback.


Question: What gymnastics offer will Coombe Wood School (CWS) have?

Answer: As you will see we are very passionate that all students are exposed to Gymnastics as part of both our curriculum and extra-curricular activities. At present we are already exploring a relationship with Future Gymnastics

Should this not work out over the next 6 months we will be in touch.


Question: Learning to play musical instruments at Coombe Wood School (CWS).

Answer: Music will form an essential part of the curriculum at Coombe Wood School and will be directed by a Subject Leader for Music who as yet has not been appointed. For this reason I don’t want to say too much about the precise way in which it will be run. We will not expect every student to play an instrument. This is sometimes something which secondary schools employ which have a music specialism. Others sometimes expect all students in year 7 for example to play a violin. At CWS we will not employ this initiative but allow students to engage in music if they wish. We will follow a common approach where the school will recruit peripatetic music teachers who can support students during the day. It would certainly be our intention to run Music at GCSE and at A Level.


Question: Will all students wear ties at Coombe Wood School (CWS)?

Answer: All students (boys and girls) will be given their first tie when they join the school. This will signify an important moment when their lives will take a positive step forward with regards their future aspirations. They will also be provided with a guide of how to wear their tie with pride ensuring that it is in a business-like manner. CWS believes that if children are to wear a tie then they must wear it well. In the beginning the tie is simple and to some people will appear bland or plain. It has no obvious stripes or colours which move away from the main uniform colour of grey. This has been designed on purpose. The only feature of the tie is the school badge which we want to signify the most important thing in a young person’s life when joining a new school. The school and the opportunities within it become their life and the vehicle within which their future aspirations can be carried and developed. Through CWS their dreams will come true and will develop as their love for the school grows. We expect some students to wear different more adventurous ties as they grow within the school. Some will wear an Arts Tie signifying their achievements within the Performing or the Creative Arts, others a Science Tie, a Humanities Tie, a Mathematics Tie or a Sports Tie. For those who contribute and lead their House Group they will be awarded a House Tie and for those students who contribute significantly to the wider life of the school a Headteacher’s Tie which will be the most prestigious award. Although not specifically designed yet we envisage that the most sort after and most admired tie will be that awarded by the Headteacher compared to the simple and plain tie awarded when children first join the school. Like our arrange of ties we expect children’s lives to be enriched and blossom into more creative designs as they grow older. Upon leaving the school we envisage children to have found a love of learning and be engaged in an aspect of the school’s curriculum which will stay with them forever and be shared when they return as Alumni to help the young students who follow in their footsteps.


Question: Why have Coombe Wood School (CWS) chosen to engage with Volenti Football Academy?

Answer: Folio Education Trust are excited to work with Volenti Football Academy to deliver the football content during the school day, after school and in the evening and at weekends. While they have part of their business which focuses on sport management they are expanding the side of the business which supports the education of young children. An attractive part of their approach is that they promote a balance of core skills and discipline to ensure all young people can develop a love for keeping fit and healthy and can reach their personal best within the sport of football.

While Volenti has recently excelled with the delivery of football to boys, Folio Education Trust is now also developing pathways for girls from aged 9 to work towards the Women’s Soccer League. This will include entering Coombe Wood School as a football club into the Surrey Women’s and Girls Football League in September 2018.

We acknowledge there are a vast number of Football Academies and Grass Roots Clubs which children can join but we believe the best pathways for young people in this sport is to dedicate their time to their school before joining professional academies. We believe that by reducing the number of different coaches and teams that a young person has in their life we will be able to develop more consistency and therefore more success. We look forward to Coombe Wood School and Volenti Football Academy being this consistency for those students who choose to play football.


Question: What Languages will be taught at Coombe Wood School (CWS)?

Answer: We are undecided yet which Foreign Languages will be taught at CWS and whether Latin will form part of our curriculum. To a certain extent this is down to recruitment because if we cannot find well trained, outstanding teachers there is really no point in promising to deliver certain courses. Saying this we are committed to ensuring that all students learn a language from Key Stage 3 through to GCSE. In fact when we consult on our admission arrangements for the Sixth Form we will expect all students to have a GCSE from a timetabled Foreign Language for them to be admitted.

At present our approach would be to deliver French and Spanish as core curriculum subjects. Children would be allocated into one or the other language class and would study this from Year 7 to the end of Year 11 where they will take the GCSE examination. We believe that by committing to studying a language for 5 years all young people can reach the required standard to achieve a good pass – Grade ‘5’. Some families may not wish us to dictate which language is studied and so we will allow families to choose if they wish. Some children may fall in love with linguistics and want to study more than one language at GCSE. This will be possible but this child will have to devote a period of time catching up with any work missed in their second language so that they can grasp the basic voacb and grammar required to be successful. We expect this to only affect a very small number of children. For these children the school will offer necessary after school support to ensure they are able to explore their love of learning foreign languages.

We recognise that for some young children English is an Additional Language (EAL) and so we fully expect to offer clubs and societies where children will be able to explore and learn more about their culture or ethnic group. An example of this would be to further develop Polish or Italian studies outside of the core curriculum.


Question: What will the schools policy on 'Learning at Home' or 'Homework'?

Answer: Folio Education Trust is currently developing its policy on ‘Home learning’ for Coombe Wood School. While it is not yet published we are actively asking ourselves the following questions:

What is the point of Homework?

What are the main objectives for children completing learning tasks at home?

What part must parents and carers play in supporting children to learn at home?

What tasks are time heavy and deliver limited outcomes if set for children to complete at home?

What are the expectations of parents and carers in the number of hours a child should be learning at home when completing specific tasks?

If Coombe Wood School wishes to promote all children staying after school to take part in enrichment activities provided by local clubs and societies then can we expect them to complete homework every night?

Which activity delivers outstanding students – commitment to life inside and outside of the classroom in clubs and societies or completing Homework every night?

Can we employ a differentiated approach to homework so that those who are not making expected progress do more tasks to support their learning at home or after school?

What provision can there be made at school at the end of the school day for children to complete home learning tasks if they are engaging in clubs and societies later that evening?

What should we expect to deliver with regards the marking or feedback of home learning tasks?

What are parent and carer expectations with regards targeted feedback following the completion of home learning tasks – are these realistic and do they limit planning time for lessons?


Question: How do I apply for a place at Coombe Wood School for September 2018 and beyond?

Answer: To apply for a place at Coombe Wood School for September 2018 people must complete a Coombe Wood School Application Form and submit it to the school at the address on the form. This can be downloaded from the Coombe Wood School website –

People must also complete the Local Authority’s Common Application Form (CAF) with their other preferred choice which must not be Coombe Wood School. This is because the admissions process for Coombe Wood School for 2018 entry are being dealt with outside of coordination of other secondary schools in the London Borough of Croydon. This is only relevant for children wishing to join the school in September 2018.

For children wishing to join the school from September 2019 and beyond, Coombe Wood School will be in coordination with other secondary schools so people should put Coombe Wood School on this form in preference order to gain a place.

Question: How will Coombe Wood School (CWS) grow over time with regards to its Pupil Admission Number (PAN)?

Answer:  For the first three years of opening (2018/2019, 2019/2020. 2020/2021) CWS will have a PAN of 180 children. This will rise in 2021/2022 to 240 children. This increased intake has been determined by Croydon Council who are responsible for monitoring demographic changes in the local area and ensuring there are sufficient places for children to attend their local school.

In 2020/2021 CWS will open its Sixth Form offering a series of A level and BTEC qualifications. This will also be the first year that the school will be offering the start of GCSE courses and so this increased number of students and public examination courses means that the school will recruit staff who are keen to teach students across the age and ability ranges. Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

The following table shows you the growth of the school.


Question:  How will Pastoral Care in the School be organised?

Answer: Students will be allocated a Tutor Group and a House on arrival in the school. This will form the initial basis of our Pastoral Care programme. Every child will have a Tutor who will act also as a mentor and academic tutor. They will monitor the participation levels and academic progress that your son or daughter will make. They will also act as a key line of communication between parents and the school. We will be offering 180 children places at the school for the first three years and then the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) will rise to 240 in 2021/2022. This means that in the first three years we will divide children into 6 teaching groups of 30 children in each group and 6 House Groups which will also have 30 children in each. House Group will be linked to our Enrichment Programme and Tutor Groups  will be more closely linked to Pastoral Care and Academic Monitoring. Children will meet the Tutor every day for a short period of time and if necessary be supported after school if they are struggling to make the required progress.

It is important to realise that some lessons will be taught in classes of 30 children but there will also be a significant number of classes where 180 students within the cohort will be broken down into smaller classes. The reason for this would be following ‘setting arrangements’. We are keen to set in two subject areas. Mathematics and Health Related Fitness. In some of these classes we will see less children as these may require more focused Targeted Intervention. In these lesson class sizes may well be less than 25 students.

In practical subjects like Technology  we will see class sizes reduce to closer to 20 children. These is so that we meet health & Safety requirements and ensure that the student teacher ratio is sufficiently low enough to ensure that children can acquire the core skills necessary to be successful in these areas.

All teaching staff and non-teaching staff in the school will receive regular Safeguarding and Child Protection training which will contribute to the pastoral care within the school ensuring it is a safe place for young people to be.


Question: What is the dance offer at Coombe Wood School?

Answer: At present we are exploring the following organisations. Please feel free to contact them if you feel you could support their offer or if we end up not developing provision with these organisations we will be in touch.



Question: We are concerned that the plans for Coombe Wood School have all been finalised, apart from the planning, which I am sure, will be approved.  The building of this school will directly have an impact on the residents in Pilgrims Way.  To my knowledge no one has been contacted.   At no time have we been consulted or invited to any meetings to give us the opportunity to ask questions.  Please provide us with information that will clarify the plans for use of the field and the proximity of the school and playing grounds to our gardens.

Answer:  It is possible that you may have viewed an artist’s impression of the proposed school which was used within our proposal document to Croydon Council while they were publically consulting upon their Local Plan. While this drawing has been helpful to see the size of the potential building it has mis-led because it has guessed where the buildings will be located in relation to the site and the car park. To ascertain precise details we will need to wait for the appointed contractor to develop a full planning application which will include a Green Travel Plan.

At the present time we are waiting for the National Inspector to return his report in response to the Local Plan consultation. His response will determine whether a school is acceptable to be built on this piece of greenbelt.

While we await this outcome we are working with the Education, Skills and Funding Agency and Contractors to conduct feasibility studies and work up a full planning application.

You are among other local residents who have contacted us. Now that we have your contact details we will add it to a list of people that we will give to the contractor. It will be their job to conduct consultation with you before submitting their planning application. This essentially will form part of their pre-planning consultation. You should hear from them in October / November 2017.


Question: Will Coombe Wood School (CWS) incorporate cricket into its sports programme?

Answer: As a school we embrace students taking part in all forms of sport as we passionately believe that participating it competitive team or individual sports is an essential part of developing into confident young adults. Our core values of TEAMWORK, RESPECT, ENJOYMENT, DISCIPLINE and SPORTSMANSHIP cover all sporting disciplines.

As everyone is fully aware the range of sporting disciplines is huge and it is impossible for a school to deliver content linked to all sports and run teams in everything. For this reason we are taking an approach which can be described as narrow but which has huge depth. By choosing a range of specific sports we are able to ensure that students are given the opportunity to find their level and if the potential is there reach national representation by following the pathways offered at the school. The specific sporting pathways offered at Coombe Wood School will be:  Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Dance, Football, Gymnastics, Netball

While students will be encouraged to follow a pathway in a range of these sports it is likely that students will major in one. This will allow them to focus on the specific movements and aspects of strength and conditioning required to reach a high standard. They will learn the rules and laws of their specific chosen sport having the opportunity to take coaching qualifications so they develop a better understanding of the sport. Falling in love with one or two of these sports does not mean having to play it to an elite level. Students may choose to become umpires or referees of the game therefore helping the school run a very professional sporting programme. While it is the school’s aim to expose children to taking up new sports we do not presume that children will abandon sports that they already play. We fully expect that there will be for example swimmers, cricketers and rugby players who join the school and we are saying that we will not have a swimming pool or rugby and cricket pitches. We must be clear at this point that children can and must continue to play these chosen sports but this must be done outside and away from the school. We must not pretend to be what we cannot deliver on to a high standard. What is essential is that the school knows that a child swims every morning for Croydon Amphibians or plays cricket and rugby at Old Whitgiftians. By knowing this the school can tailor its Health Related Fitness programme to support their growth in these sports. An example would be working on core strength and speed to ensure that as the child develops as a keen rugby player they are able to reach their personal best. For those who love cricket again the agility of an outstanding fielder and the hand eye coordination of a strong batsman will be worked upon at Coombe Wood School without running a school cricket team or without picking up a cricket bat – this can be done by engaging with successful local clubs. This concept of ‘less is more’ encourages depth of knowledge in specific sports while also offering depth of related core strength and conditioning which is often lacking in young people’s sporting programmes. The emphasis is also on relationships where the school fully understands what is happening in every young person’s life so we can adjust and support where necessary. If children are busy in sport outside of school we want to help support them in the best way possible.


Question: When will Folio Education Trust be recruiting staff to work in Coombe Wood School?

Answer: Coombe Wood School (CWS) will be opening in September 2018 in temporary accommodation and will for the first cohort of students require a staff which will include both Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff. Our recruitment timeline has already started and we have appointed an Assistant Headteacher (Mr D Holding) whose responsibility it will be to drive the Creative and Performing Arts. Mr Holding will be working at Wallington County Grammar School during 2017/2018 before joining CWS. In addition to this the development of CWS is currently being supported by staff working for Folio Education Trust. Included in this team are staff working on Marketing CWS, leading Admissions processes and developing the schools Educational Plan and Facilities.

In September / October 2017 Folio Education Trust will develop further its CWS curriculum plan for 2018/2019 which will in turn direct our staffing model for our first year of opening. We envisage having to recruit up to 10 teaching staff and approximately 4 non-teaching staff. Adverts for these positions will be published after Christmas 2017 and we hope to appoint the majority of the new staff to start work with us during August 2018 where we will prepare schemes of work, routines and confirm our policies and procedures to ensure we are compliant and able to deliver an outstanding education for children and a pleasant and productive work place for our new staff.

A key appointment for the school will be to confirm the school’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) by April 2018.


Question: How does the School propose to deliver its Performing Arts Curriculum?

Answer: Dance will straddle a number of elements within the school curriculum. It will be considered as a sporting discipline so that it is supported with the necessary strength and conditioning coaching but will also fall into the Creative & Performing Arts where students may learn to choreograph their own performances in relation to other musical or theatre performances. Not all children will want to sing and act on a stage although all children will be given the opportunity to explore these options.

The school is very clear that there are certain areas of the curriculum which require a higher standard of training which Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) does not always deliver. This would be linked to subjects such as Sport, Music and Dance education. In these fields the best people to engage in the school curriculum are professionals who work in industry, who are experienced working with children and who have Level 3 or above coaching qualifications. This is why the school will consider engaging with qualified coaches for the schools Games Afternoon and Enrichment Programme. Here the school will pay for highly experienced and qualified coaches to work with children. These staff will have all the necessary Safeguarding DBS checks and will be monitored by CWS Staff who will support to ensure the pedagogy is correct. An example of where this would work best is on for example the football pitch where it would be better to have a UEFA B licence Football Coach leading the session rather than a PE Teacher with QTS who is a keen Basketball player – in this case the expertise is not quite good enough.

In relation to the Performing Arts Curriculum we are in the process of making arrangements to design our core curriculum in this area. This will determine how much time all students spend learning to act and sing for example. What we can say at this early stage is that we welcome all children to build their confidence and explore their character through experiencing drama lessons as well as having the opportunity to play a musical instrument and sing.

At the current time we are exploring a relationship with the following organisation who we hope will help support the school’s Performing Arts programme -

Following these discussions we will release more information regarding our approach to the Performing Arts.


Question: How will the sporting aptitude assessment work?

Answer: The sporting aptitude does not assess any precise sporting disciplines. This means it will not use Football, Basketball or Dance as a precise test for aptitude. The assessment is relevant for any physical activity which could include some elements of the performing arts such as Dance or Gymnastics. The sporting assessment will select three key tests which will assess the following:


Reactive Strength Index (RSI)


These three assessments are relevant for all sports and will determine which children show an aptitude for sport and who will benefit from being offered a place at the school. It is important to know that children admitted suing this criteria will not be tracked as a special group within the school. We will be keen to monitor their progress but this will be the same as every child. It is also important to know that children with a strong sporting aptitude may be admitted into the school under a different admission criteria. They may live close to the school, attend one of the feeder schools, be a Looked After Child or have an Educational Health Care Plan.


Question: I live in Thornton Heath, am I likely to be offered a place if I apply?

Answer: It is impossible to determine who will be offered a place based upon distance from the school. This means that we do not have any pre-determined catchment area. It is though fair to say that those children living in areas of Croydon which are furthest away from the school are less likely. After our first our first year of admissions (2018/2019) we will publish our area of influence and this may help indicate or guide people but this will change year on year as demographics change within the area, the school’s reputation builds and when we increase our Pupil Admission Number from 180 to 240 in September 2021 / 2022. Some are right to identify that the school will be including a sporting aptitude assessment into its admissions arrangements. This is where a child with a sporting aptitude living further away from the school may be offered a place. This is because we are keen to ensure that those children who have a strong sporting aptitude would benefit hugely from gaining a place at the school because of its sporting specialism, sporting ethos and core values which are embedded across the entire curriculum. See the FAQ linked to sporting aptitude to find out more about how this will work.


Question:  Will the model of achievement be similar to that of a Grammar School?

Answer:  Coombe Wood School (CWS) will be a comprehensive school with only 10% of its Pupil Admission Number (PAN) selected following a sporting aptitude assessment. This means that the vast majority of students will be offered a place because they live close to the School. This is important as the School wishes to become a local school for local children. As in many comprehensive schools the ability range of the intake will therefore be broad and will require specific targeted intervention to ensure less able, more able and disadvantaged students are all supported to discover and reach their personal best. This is no different to a Grammar School such as Wallington County Grammar School which, while the range of ability is less, requires outstanding ‘differentiation’ to be employed inside and outside of the classroom to meet the needs of the students.

Having Wallington County Grammar School (WCGS) in the same Multi-Academy Trust as CWS is a huge advantage for all the students and staff because of what it can contribute to the life and academic success of the school. It may be able to support all aspects of school life but below is a list of selective school features which we propose to implement at Coombe Wood School to support the students:

a) House System

From the moment all girls and boys arrive at CWS they will be allocated a ‘House’. Unlike other schools which employ this strategy, CWS will ensure that all students are linked vertically throughout the school meaning students of all ages are working together to earn House Points in a range of sporting and cultural events such as House Basketball, House Art or House Music. This builds teams which crosses age groups and allows older students to develop their leadership skills and younger students to develop suing role models. In the first two years of opening CWS will have only children at Key Stage 3. To overcome this issue each CWS House will be linked with a House at WCGS. Collaborative projects and events will be arranged to ensure those children joining CWS are surrounded by older role models who can support and advise them as they grow. There will be a range of House Trophies at CWS and these will be awarded on a termly basis to the winning House. Victory will be based on the House that winds the most House Points which will be allocated for Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. (The Core Values of CWS)

b) Aspirational and Motivational Academic Pathways

Unlike any comprehensive school CWS will adopt the approach at WCGS where we expose young children at an early age to what they need to do to be successful in life in specific careers. Clubs and Societies will begin to be started as children move from Year 7 into Year 8 which is when they need to start to think about selecting a range of GCSE options. This may feel very early but using the Grammar School model, with the right support and guidance children can begin to engage in specific academic areas without shutting to many doors to their future. While things such as Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Mathematics and English remain compulsory students need to discover how best to compliment their future aspirations. Choosing or not choosing to take History or Geography, Art or Music, Sport or Languages will determine a persons future and later their progression into studying A Level and Degrees at University.

To support students in making the right decisions we will firstly ask children to attend Clubs & Societies run by older children who in the first few years of CWS opening will come from WCGS. These Clubs & Societies will range from Engineering Society, Politics Society and Medical Preparation to Forest School to Basketball Club. The advantages of attending these sessions is that CWS students will be able to ask questions and find out what is required to for example to become a Medical Student. The best way for children to learn about new things is to ask intelligent questions and spend time with people who are further down the career path that they want to follow. To support this concept CWS will also tap into WCGS’s Alumni network asking former students to visit CWS to explain how they built their first bridge, saved someone’s life or won a political debate etc.

c) University Bound

In the Grammar School sector it is the norm that up to 90% of all children leaving school at the age of 18 go onto to degree level at university either in the UK or in other countries such as the US. Using the successful model of Oxbridge and UCAS applications that has been developed over a number of years, students at CWS will be supported to ensure they achieve their first choice of university. This will mean getting the right GCSE and A Level results to obtain conditional offers from a range of universities. The biggest reasons for why young people fail to go onto university is the unknown fees, poor UCAS applications or a failure to select the right institutions and courses. Using the Grammar School preparation model CWS students will achieve their aspirations with regards studying beyond aged 18 years.

d) High Standards of Behaviour

All schools have Behaviour Policies for students to follow but not all schools have expectations which ‘sweat the small stuff’. We believe that by paying attention to things like punctuality, attendance, uniform and relationships that we see less damaging pastoral issues arise in school. It is certainly an ongoing war of attrition when it comes to battling the social and emotional enemies that exist in today’s society but we believe that when students arrive at school they do so every day, on time and looking smart ready to work hard and treat people with respect. The dress code will be business-like. This means full length ties to be worn by all students, no severe haircuts or designs shaved into eyebrows and heads, no glamorous jewellery or make-up and no pointless debates about the high standards set by the school with students, staff or parents. It may come across as being over-harsh but these are the standards that we will be setting from the beginning and those who do not meet our high expectations of behaviour should not choose to join the school or if they do and will not comply they should be expecting to be asked to leave. Students who need support to reach our expectations will always receive it.


Question: How will Coombe Wood School differentiate and plan for both more or less able students?

Answer: This is probably the greatest challenge for any teacher. Even if a school suggests teaching in ‘streams’ or ‘sets’ is the way forward there will always be an element of mixed ability teaching here. It’s just that the range is less but the challenge to staff remains high.

Coombe Wood School is developing a ‘Vision for Learning’ which has been developed over the last few years. It breaks the planning and delivery of lessons into the following themes:

Progress, Relationships, Challenge, Enjoyment, Deepen Thinking

These themes will be the bedrock of learning within the school as each one plays an essential part in what can be described as ‘outstanding teaching and learning’.

With reference to less able children, we recognise the importance of ‘challenge’ meaning that content is appropriate so that all students make expected progress. Through differentiated tasks all children are challenged and supported when necessary. If a child has specific learning needs this may be supported with either an IEP – Individual Education Plan or if needs are severe then with an EHCP – Educational Health Care Plan.

With reference to more able children it is important to focus upon ‘Deepening Thinking’. This theme stretches all more able learners but not through rushed extension tasks at the end of lessons. When a teacher asks more able students to deepen their thinking they expect it to be done from the beginning of a lesson so it becomes embedded and if necessary can form the basis and more developed outcomes, peer discussion or altered additional learning. Schools which tac extension tasks onto the end of a lesson are failing more inquisitive and more able learners.

A good example of deeper thinking would be considering the wider political implications of the Treaty of Versailles rather than when it happened or who was involved.

Coombe Wood will plan to embed our ‘Vision for Learning’ into the way staff plan lessons to ensure all students are supported to discover and reach their personal best. As has previously been described we will look to set children in Maths and HRF which will in turn drive groups in other subjects. Despite this it is important to remember that the ability range may be less but classes which are taught in sets still require an element of differentiation as one size does not fit all.


Question:  My child has an EHCP, I'd be interested to learn more about the school your SENCO team.

Answer:  We look forward to welcoming you to one of our Open Events next week. At the event we will touch upon Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) support. At this moment in time though it is difficult to establish and communicate what precise support will be in place. Secondary Schools tend in the main respond to the needs of the students who choose to attend the school. This tends to be the case until which time the school begins to develop a specialism whilst continuing to support a range of needs. An example of this would be at Woodcote High School who have chosen to invest significantly in the provision for children who are disabled and who may otherwise struggle to access mainstream education. Their school has been significantly modified and is extremely impressive in the way that they cater for young people’s needs. Coombe Wood School has no pre-determined specialism in SEND but will respond accordingly as and when we determine which children will be learning with us from September 2018. Because we may be in temporary accommodation for the first academic year at least, we would recommend that before any family chooses to send their child who has an EHCP or any form of mild SEND to Coombe Wood School discuss this with us before 31st October 2017. This will then give us the opportunity to advise on the suitability of Coombe Wood School and prepare our facilities, curriculum plan and resources to cater for your child’s needs. It is important to say that Folio Education Trust and Coombe Wood School will do as much as possible to cater for the needs of all children but there will at times be limitations and these must be clearly discussed and communicated with families before children are admitted into the school.


QuestionHow confident are you in obtaining planning permission?  I recall that Archbishop Tennison's was denied the Coombe Road site for a new school in 2012 on the basis that there were covenants on the land which prevented development.

Answer:  We are confident that we will be able to obtain Planning Permission on this site. There are though still some hurdles. The first is the National Inspector’s Report which will be published in September 2017. This is a report which follows the consultation upon the Local Plan for Croydon. It is this report that will hopefully suggest that building a new school on this site can be deemed as appropriate for the Green Belt. The reason why it would be deemed appropriate is because of the rising demographic demand and the need for improved parental choice in schools in South Croydon. If this report is positive then we will be able to submit a full planning application in December 2017 which will hopefully be approved by the Spring 2018. Our planning application may be in two parts. Firstly for the permanent build which will hopefully open by January 2020 and also for temporary buildings which will allow the school to open on site in September 2018.

You are right to reflect upon the previous application by Archbishop Tennison to locate a new school here. At the time there was no predicted demographic need in the area and so the application was deemed inappropriate for the Green Belt. In the last few years demographic growth in Croydon has been significant meaning a new school is required in addition to that in the local area and not just a re-location of one such as Archbishop Tennison.


Question: Regarding the planning application is it one for permanent build and one for temp build or a joint application?

Answer:  Separate applications will be made at the same time as the Local Plan gets adopted by the council.  We have not confirmed the temp site yet.


Question:  What sort of induction do you have for 2018 cohort, some schools offer 2 weeks during the summer for pupils to get to know each other and the teachers.

Answer:  We are not aware of any school that does a 2 week induction during summer holidays.  We will run two days in the summer term and have several days in early September before the curriculum starts.  Once the permanent build is open holiday clubs will be available in the late summer holidays.


Question:  Will pupils be streamed by ability for core subjects, as aware some secondary schools don't do this.

Answer:  We see Maths as being a subject which works best when in sets, not streams.  All other subjects will be mixed.  We will certainly consider ensuring children of similar ability are together in Health Related Fitness.


Question:  Will you be following standard school terms of 13 weeks in each school term or try to break up the long summer holidays with longer half term breaks?

Answer: We will follow the norm.  It is difficult to break away from this as families will have children in other Primary schools for example and it just gets messy for family holidays.


Question:  Currently you have 2 school's as feeders which will take 90 of the 180 places but if pupils from this school don't get in via the feeder route would they be admitted via closest location to the school?  As this would increase the amount of pupils from the 2 feeder schools and reduce others being admitted?

Answer: Yes there could be more than 90 from the two feeders.  They will get in on distance.  The rationale for the feeders is that they are the closest and we have a lot of curriculum and school improvement collaboration as they are also part of the Folio Education Trust.


Question: What specialties will the school focus on?  Say if my child want to go on and study medicine will the required sciences be offered at GCSE?

Answer: Yes your child will be very well prepared to enter medicine.  From Year 7 through to GCSE all students will study all three sciences seperately (Biology, Chemistry and Physics).  Medicine club or Med Prep will offer students from a young age the opportunity to find out more about life as a Medic.  In the early days of the school this will be delivered by older students from WCGS and former students who themselves have started a career in medicine.  We would advise all students considering medicine as a career pathway to engage in Year 9/10 ensuring that even that their work experience placement is career related.  Choices at A Level should include Maths and Chemistry.  Again support will be provided in UCAS applications and potential Oxbridge or Russell Group University Interviews.


Question:  Please let me know when Coombe Wood School is opening and if you are taking in all year groups.

Answer: The School will be opening in temporary accommodation in September 2018 for Year 7 students only (180 places).  We plan to move to our permanent site in time for our September 2019 intake, which again will be 180 Year 7 students.  In 2020 we plan to admit students into Year 12 (Lower Sixth) and Year 7.


Question: Is the school on track to open in September 2018?

Answer: Great to hear from you and thanks for your question.  Yes - we are still on course for a September 2018 opening but this will now be in temporary accommodation which will either be on site or nearby.  Not ideal but hopefully still an attractive offer to local families as the permanent build will open in September 2019.

The next hurdle is a full planning application to Croydon Council to be submitted at the end of 2017.  We can't submit anything earlier than this because we await the approval of the Local Plan by the Council.  

We will during summer 2017, run a marketing campaign for the school so please do stay in touch.


Question:  When would be the first intake of pupils to this school?  And what would the catchment area be for applications?

Answer:  Although we have not yet consulted upon and agreed our admission arrangements we are able to predict what the catchment area might look like. Please remember that this is all subject to us being granted planning permission by Croydon Council.

Two primary schools – St Peter’s Primary and Park Hill Junior School are currently consulting on whether they should academise and join Folio Education Trust. If following this they should decide to join the Trust then they will become ‘feeder’ schools for the new Coombe Wood School. It is anticipated that 50% of the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) of Coombe Wood School would be made up of children from local feeder schools. A further 10% of the intake would be selected following an assessment of sporting aptitude. This will offer children who live outside of the expected catchment area but who would benefit from the enhanced sports facilities that the school hopes to develop. The remaining students who will be chosen to attend the school will be selected upon distance from the front of the school which is likely to be the corner of Melville Avenue and Coombe Road.

In addition to this the school is considering including a sibling criteria within the admission arrangements because we are keen to ensure that families are not split up between multiple schools.

We are still on course for a September 2018 opening but this will now be in temporary accommodation which will either be on site or nearby.  Not ideal but hopefully still an attractive offer to local families as the permanent build will open in September 2019.

We will during summer 2017, run a marketing campaign for the school so please do stay in touch.


Question:  Will you be able to deliver the full curriculum in temporary buildings?  How will CWS adress this situation? Will the teachers at CWS be NQT or experienced teachers?

Answer:  There are many challenges that we will face concerning the temporary accommodation.  My experience has allowed me to witness a lot of what you are concerned about and I am determined to ensure that the first cohort do not feel that they have received a sub-standard curriculum offer during the first year.  We must though be mindful that there will be inevitably accommodation which may not be able to deliver everything.

At this time I can assure you that in making arrangements for our temporary accommodation over the next few months we will be prioritising the delivery of those aspects which will have the most impact upon student progress.

More details on this will be shared later this academic year when we run a series of open day / evening events for prospective families.

Your second question was linked to the experience of the teachers that we will appoint in the first year of opening.

Recruitment is very challenging at this current time.  All schools have very little choice when appointing staff.  In specific curriculum areas such as Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics there are shortages of good or outstanding teachers.  With this in mind we cannot always have the luxury of choice but must appoint the best candidate whether they are experienced or new to teaching.

What I can say is that should we have the luxury of choice we will look to appoint a range of staff who are not all experienced. NQTs can bring some of the most innovative pedagogical styles into the classroom and so we are looking for this in the staff we appoint.  It is also important to say that experience is very valuable when starting  up a new school which has no traditions or embedded routines. In this case we need to appoint staff who have experience of how great schools run and so we will be looking to ensure some staff have a strong record of working in outstanding schools.


Question: When can I register my daughter to start in September 2018?

Answer: You asked us a question linked to admissions, asking when you are able to apply for a place at the school for September 2018.

May I suggest the following timeline:  (Please remember that this is subject to a planning application being accepted by Croydon Council for the school to be built on Coombe Road Playing Fields).

Now – Register your interest on the Coombe Wood School website –

Summer 2017 – attend one of our open days/evenings which will give all stakeholders a deeper insight into the school.

Summer 2017 – study the Local Authority prospectus which will outline all school admission arrangements.

By October 2017 – Complete the CAF – Common Application Form which will be a prioritised list of which secondary schools you would like your child to go to.  It might be that we will run our admission arrangements outside of ‘coordination’ meaning that you may have to apply directly to the school for a place.

March/April 2018 – You will hear on National Offers Day which school your child will be attending in September 2018 which will have been calculated using the schools admission arrangements.

To find out more accurate information regarding our admission arrangements, please attend one of our events in the summer 2017.


Question: Can I register my child who is in Year 1 at the moment for a place in the school for the future?

Answer: It is important to register your interest in the school on our website – even though your child is currently in Year 1.  This means that you will receive regular updates about the school as it develops and opens in September 2018.

Your child will not attend the school until September 2022 so it will be important to visit the school during 2021 and complete all the necessary Local Authority admission documents.


Question: Will there be an entry exam required before being accepted?

Answer: It is very important to realise that Coombe Wood School will be a state funded ‘comprehensive’ school meaning that there will be no entrance examination as is common in many ‘selective’ schools.

Children will mainly gain a place at the school because of their proximity to the front door of the school as distance is being used as the main over-subscription criteria.

Only 10% of the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) will  be selected following a sporting aptitude  assessment which is designed to identify children who live outside of the catchment care who will  benefit from a place at the school and who would benefit from the enhanced sports facilities that we hope to develop.


Question: How will the school deal with open days and evenings for the 2018 intake?

Answer: It will be a real challenge to market a school that doesn’t exist and invite families to find out more about a school that is opening in September 2018 but which doesn’t physically exist.

Students won’t be able to walk the corridors, or talk to existing students about what life is like.

This challenge that we face will be addressed in a series of open evenings / day events where prospective students and families can find out more about the school before choosing to attend it.  These events will be held in a central Croydon facility and will project a vision for what the school will look and feel like.


Question: What would the catchment area be?

Answer: This will be very difficult to identify and predict how it will change over time as the school becomes more established.

Although we have not yet consulted upon and agreed our admission arrangements we are able to predict what the catchment might look like.  Please remember that this is all subject to us being granted planning permission by Croydon Council.

Two primary schools – St Peter’s Primary and Park Hill Junior School are currently consulting on whether they should academise and join Folio Education Trust.  If following this they should decide to join the Trust then they will become ‘feeder’ schools for the new Coombe Wood School. It is anticipated that 50% of the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) of Coombe Wood School would be made up of children from local feeder schools.  A further 10% of the intake would be selected following an assessment of sporting aptitude.  This will offer children who live outside of the expected catchment area but who would benefit from the enhanced sports facilities that the school hopes to develop.  The remaining students will be chosen to attend the school will be selected upon distance from the front of the school which is likely to be the corner of Melville Avenue and Coombe Road.

In addition to this the school is considering to include a sibling criteria within the admission arrangements because we are keen to ensure that families are not split up between multiple schools.

I hope this helps.   Admission arrangements will become clearer as we move towards opening and then once the school opens we will have year on year patterns and trends to analyse.


Question: Any ELP / SEN provision?

Answer: The School is comprehensive in nature and so will be well-prepared to educate both less and more able students ensuring that meaningful targeted intervention takes place mainly in classrooms but will at times include targeted support outside of the classroom.

There is a vast range of Special Education Needs and so it is difficult at this time to predict what the school might focus upon but we are clear that the school will recruit a specialist SENco who will work with a range of TAs in specialist accommodation.

Students wanting to gain a place at the School who have an EHCP will be given priority.


Question: Will this school be a grammar school?

Answer: The school we propose to build in South Croydon will be a comprehensive academy admitting girls and boys aged 11-18.  Our aim is to provide a local school for local children which will include a 10% partially selective criterion for children with a sporting aptitude.


Question: Does Forestdale come into the catchment area for a his new school?  Could my children’s primary school become a feeder school?

Answer: Apologies in advance for the length of my response but you have touched upon a lot of key issues.  It is very difficult to determine what the catchment area will be for the new school.  My guess would be that the area will reduce slightly between the first and second year of opening because we will be looking at the school being opened in temporary accommodation in the first year.  As the reputation builds of the school we would expect to see the catchment area reduce.

It is difficult to say whether Forestdale children will obtain a place at the new school as it is more dependent on address.  Children living closer to the site of the new school stand a better chance of achieving a place.

There will be an increase in catchment for the 2020 intake going forward as the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) for the school will increase due to estimated demographic need from 180 students in 2018 & 2019 to 240 students in 2020 going forward.

In response to the issue of ‘feeder schools’, Folio Education Trust is publicly consulting on whether St Peters Primary, South Croydon and Park Hill Junior School should academies and join the Multi Academy Trust in the Spring 2017.  If stakeholders agree with this move then both schools will become feeder schools for the proposed Coombe Wood School.  If this consultation goes through then it is likely approx. fifty per cent of the secondary schools PAN will be generated by feeder schools.

The Trust and Coombe Wood School cannot have too many feeder schools but it would certainly consider including other primary schools as feeder schools should they choose to become an academy and join Folio Education Trust so that the Trust can coordinate school improvement strategies and generate economies of scale through joint procurement of education services as a family of schools.

The Trust is working with Croydon Council at this time to develop suitable admission criteria for the proposed school.  This will be consulted upon in due course and we hope to see Coombe Wood School feature in the Local Authority Admissions Prospectus for 2018 in the summer of 2017.

The Trust are planning to run an open day/evening for Coombe Wood School in Summer 2017 to help families decide whether they are interested in applying for a place in the school.  (The venue for this is to be confirmed).

It is important to remember that the school is still merely a proposal as we cannot guarantee the school will open until we have achieved planning permission to build upon this specific site.  We are restricted in submitting planning permission until Croydon’s Local Plan has been approved by the Council in late 2017.  This is why in the first year of opening will be in temporary buildings.