Senior Department

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Senior Department - Year 7 to Year 11

The Cobham Free School senior department opened in September 2014 following a successful bid to the government as part of wave 4 of the Free School Programme. It merged with the junior department to form an all-through school. Pupils in the junior department automatically progress to the senior department at the end of Year 6 and do not need to re-apply. There are 80 additional spaces for external applicants into Year 7. The school currently has 4 forms per year group (104 pupils). The department is based in the Main School, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1TF.

Students in the senior department receive a traditional, knowledge-rich curriculum taught in exciting and imaginative ways. There is also a focus on skill acquisition and we have a CFS learner profile which is embedded into each subject area. The curriculum has been designed to prepare students for life in the 21st century.

Ms Urso

Mrs Newman

Message from Ms Urso and Mrs Newman - Co-Heads of Senior

We wish you a warm welcome to Cobham Free School Senior Department, where we have the highest expectations, the highest aspirations and a strong, supportive community. With small class sizes, we are able to get to know each of our students individually and provide them with excellent teaching, excellent sporting facilities and a wide and varied curriculum.

Pupils thrive at Cobham Free School where warm and supportive relationships are fostered both within the classroom and through our large extra-curricular activity programme which enables students to develop the knowledge and skills required to excel in the future.

Senior School Day

Students are able to enter the school premises from 8.15 am in the morning, doors open for registration at 8.20am and lessons finish at 3.45 pm. Single lessons are 35 minutes in length although many subjects are taught in double periods.

We have an extended day with all pupils being offered free clubs or homework study supervision until 4.40 pm.

Senior Curriculum

We offer a traditional, knowledge-based academic curriculum which is taught in a contemporary, innovative way. We believe that students should receive a secure foundation of core knowledge while developing the skills required to thrive in an ever-changing global society.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)

At Key Stage 3, the curriculum prepares students for studies at Key Stage 4 while also providing them with a broad and enriching education. Emphasis is placed on ensuring all students have a solid foundation in Mathematics and English, and pupils needing extra support are offered effective intervention using carefully selected schemes to help close any gaps in their learning.

In addition to Mathematics and English, the curriculum at Key Stage 3 includes Science, Latin, Modern Foreign Languages (French and Spanish), Music, Art, Design Technology, Sport, Drama, Computing, Pastoral, Health and Social education (PHSE) and Philosopy, Religious and Ethics (PRE). All lessons are delivered by subject specialists.

A key part of our Key Stage 3 curriculum is the timetabled Extracurricular Activities (ECAs) afternoon on a Friday to ensure senior students take the opportunity to benefit from the wide range of experiences on offer.

In Year 9 students are able to select their options for GCSE studies. They are given expert guidance from the CFS teaching staff, attending option interviews to help with their decisions. Parents are also given information at an option evening , providing the opportunity to receive advice on how to support their children in making their choices.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)

At Key Stage 4 students take courses in subjects they have selected for their GCSE examinations. All students are expected to take the Ebacc subjects Maths, English (Literature and Language), Science (double or triple), a language (French, Spanish or Latin) and Humanities (History or Geography). In addition to these core subject areas students may select from a range of options including: Music, Design Technology, Art, Drama, Computing, PRE, Food Preparation & Nutrition and Sports Science.

All students continue to study PRE and PHSE lessons. These subjects are built into the timetable but not taken as examination subjects.

Students may complete the Duke of Edinburgh, UKMT Mathematical Challenges and AQA Certificate Level 2 Further Mathematics to provide further opportunities to gain accreditation.

"CFS are doing a fabulous job. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic my child continued to enjoy their large range of lessons and activities."

CFS Parent

Learner Profile

We believe that knowledge is important as it gives us a basis to begin to understand the complex world in which we live. However, we also believe that young people are much more than simply ‘empty vessels to be filled’. We are aware that the world of work, further study and life in general require a whole set of fundamentally important skills and values.

We therefore actively encourage vital skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, reflection, creativity, independence and communication. These skills are embedded into our curriculum design and promoted through our House points system.


Students sit CAT examinations (aptitude tests) prior to entry to Cobham Free School, as part of the induction process The results are analysed and pupils are allocated to either an accelerated, or a mixed ability stream, ‘A, C, F or S’ based on the outcomes. Streaming allows us to ensure pupils are taught at an appropriate level for their abilities and helps ensure that our cohorts are given all they need to achieve to their potential. The streams are flexible, and once allocated, it is possible for pupils to move between teaching groups if considered appropriate by the school.

Senior Assessment

Teachers across the school use both summative and formative assessment techniques (see all-through assessment section and link below for further details). Examples of summative assessment in the senior department are:

  • Cognitive Ability Tests completed by new students prior to entry to Cobham Free School Senior Department. These tests produce KS2 retrospective indicators, subject specific end of Key Stage 3 (KS3) targets and GCSE predictors.

  • Subject specific baseline assessments in most KS3 subjects. These are used together with the CATS data and KS2 SATs scores to set end of KS3/GCSE targets and a ‘flight path’ to monitor academic progression.

  • Classroom tests

  • Assignments

  • Assessed performances e.g. role plays, musical and English language

"The teachers are incredibly patient, supportive and caring. Thank you to everyone at CFS."

CFS Parent

We are pleased to be able to offer bronze, silver and gold levels of the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) at Cobham Free School. This opportunity is open to all students in Year 9 - Year 13.