Senior Curriculum

The CFS curriculum intent is to lay the foundations for a lifetime of learning through providing a challenging, knowledge rich, enjoyable learning experience for all pupils regardless of background. 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. Our intention is to enable all pupils to experience high quality teaching in the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc), as well as a wide range of additional subjects, including Latin. The performing arts are a key focus and we have a specially designed instrumental scheme forming part of the music curriculum, reflecting our belief that what a pupil experiences outside the formal classroom has an impact on achievement within.

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), Learning to learn (Year 7), Oratory (Year 8), Future Focus (Year 9). 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 and Nutrition, Business, Economics and Sports Science.

All students continue to receive PE, 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.

Instrumental Scheme

The instrumental programme at CFS is a distinctive feature of the curriculum vision for the school. All pupils in Year 7 have access to free instrumental tuition as part of the music curriculum with a team of professional musicians from the peripatetic team. Following findings from action research conducted at CFS, the scheme has been devised to ensure pupils have a high quality experience, with small group classes, choice of instrument and continuation pathways. Pupils are able to try out brass (trumpet/trombone), strings (violin/cello) and woodwind (flute/clarinet) lessons during the Autumn Term and choose to specialise in one of the instruments for the remainder of the year. They are able to continue with lessons throughout their time at CFS for a small parent subsidy.

In Year 8 band skills are included in the music curriculum for those pupils wishing to focus on contemporary genres. Students have the opportunity to continue with thes classes, run on a similar basis to the orchestral instrumental scheme.en information at an option evening , providing the opportunity to receive advice on how to support their children in making their choices.

Streaming and Assessment

Students sit Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) 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, ‘A’, or a mixed, ‘C’, ‘F’ or ‘S’, stream, based on the outcomes. All streams cover the same content but the ‘A’ stream will be taught in greater depth. There are no limits to what a student can achieve at GCSE whichever stream the student is allocated to in Key Stage 3. Having two streams ensures that our cohorts are given all the support they need to achieve their potential. The streams are flexible, and once allocated, it is possible for pupils to move between streams if considered appropriate by the school.

Teachers across the school use both summative and formative assessment techniques (see the ‘all through assessment and feedback intent statement >’ and the ‘senior assessment and feedback policy >’ 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 to monitor academic progression.

  • Classroom tests

  • Assignments

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