We seek to establish a new Free School to meet the substantial demonstrable
needs of parents in Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross and the surrounding area for a non-selective, co-educational secondary
school with a Catholic ethos.
We will provide an “Outstanding” education
for boys and girls from ages eleven to sixteen. Our curriculum will ensure that they receive a rounded and broad education
that is centred on the core academic subjects of Maths, English, Science, Modern Languages and IT, as well as providing the
best possible pastoral care for every child.
Our new Free School will endeavour to
be a caring community and provide a Christian education with our Catholic ethos which has, as central to school life:
- the worship of God, Gospel values, an awareness of other faiths
and a sensitivity to others
- values each person as an individual
- enables each pupil to realise their full potential – spiritually, morally, academically,
socially and physically
- encourages each student to be independent and self-confident
- welcomes pupils from every nation and culture, irrespective of religion and origin
- works in partnership with students and parents to develop the God-given gifts of each individual
- Empowers our students to become caring and confident citizens.
- Develop children with active and creative
minds, a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs; within the traditions
of the Catholic Church, whilst ensuring mutual respect for children of other faiths and no faith
- Combine excellence in teaching and enjoyment in learning, through
a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes the total development of each child: spiritual, intellectual, moral,
social, emotional and physical
a safe, calm and supportive environment based on trust and mutual respect, within a caring community that values
the individual and welcomes everyone
children to fulfil their potential with confidence by setting high expectations of achievement and behaviour
Our vision has been developed through consultation with parents throughout the local areas and
out ethos has been developed to address the stated needs of over three hundred and fifty parents. These parents come from
all parts of the local community and it is their wish to educate their children in a secondary school that has a Catholic
ethos and is within reasonable travelling time and distance from Chalfont St Peter.
- Our research of the Secondary education of Catholic children in our area (Chalfont St Peter)
shows that over 80% state that they are Catholic but only 12% continue their education at a Catholic Secondary
- A survey of parents showed that the principle reason for this discontinuity
is the distance travelled and the time taken for their children to carry on in catholic secondary education. At
present for our local residents it would typically take one hour and fifteen minutes travel time to get their children
to school which would involve two buses and a train..
- The most significant challenges
facing parents are the high cost and long time taken to transport children to schools that are some distance away. The
cost to transport these children is currently approximately over £15 per pupil per day. There are no school bus
facilities to the other local Catholic schools in Buckinghamshire from Chalfont St Peter/Gerrards Cross.
- Buckinghamshire County Council recently announced substantial cuts in school bus funding,
together with the suspension of some existing bus services. This has led to substantial increases in the costs to parents
for existing services, and it has also been indicated that there is no chance of any new school bus services being
established in the foreseeable future. Therefore in the next few years we feel it will be realistic to expect the number
of pupils carrying on to catholic secondary education to significantly reduce in light of these factors.
Many parents cannot afford to send their children to these distant Catholic schools. Our surveys
show irrefutably that the current system discriminates against them not only in terms of provision of Catholic education but
on the grounds of cost. This will directly impacts all children but especially those from homes of lower
income and those that are unemployed and disadvantaged. There is currently no provision or allowance to cover any of the parents’
costs, unlike thousands of others in the County who are in existing schools that receive subsidised transport.
Our New Free School will provide a viable option to address all of these
issues and offer a Free School with an ethos and choice that is not currently available and that meets the stated requests
of the parents in this community.
will provide an “Outstanding” education for boys and girls, initially from ages eleven to sixteen.
Our school will be located in or close to Chalfont St. Peter.
will ensure that each pupil receives a broad and balanced education, centred on the core academic subjects
of Mathematics, English, Science, Modern Languages, History and Geography and Religious Education. Classics,
Sport, technology, practical skills and cultural activities will also be taught so that the maximum opportunity is given to
every boy and girl to fulfil his and her potential. This extensive framework will be embedded in a culture of high expectations
of academic achievement; discipline will be firm yet fair, fully explained to pupils, and consistent in its application.
The PSHE syllabus will be reviewed regularly to encompass school and social issues relevant to
the age range and will be a vehicle for learning about relationships and boundaries.
Tutor system will ensure personal, individual care; good communications between teachers. Recorded assessments through iSAMS
or a similar programme, will track and monitor the progress of individual pupils, both academically and socially, as they
move through the year and through the school.
Because of our belief
that each child is a unique expression of God’s love, our safeguarding measures and pastoral care will be exemplary.
(“Every Child Matters” agenda)
Distinctive in Vision
Our new Free School will be a caring yet challenging community providing
a rich education with a Catholic ethos which, as central to school life,
the worship of God, Gospel values, an awareness of other faiths and a sensitivity to others
each person as an individual
- enables all pupils to realise their full potential
– spiritually, morally, academically, socially and physically
each student to be independent and self-confident
- welcomes pupils from every
nation and culture, irrespective of religion and origin
- works in partnership with
students and parents to develop the God-given gifts of each individual
our students to become considerate and confident citizens.
- develop pupils with active and creative
minds, with understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs within the traditions of
the Catholic Church, whilst ensuring mutual respect for children of other faiths and no faith.
excellence in teaching, enjoyment in learning and high achievement through perceptive staff appointments, good facilities
and an adventurous curriculum.
- support those pupils with special educational
needs who have difficulties in accessing the standard curriculum so that they may acquire the skills and self-belief
to gain qualifications and take their place in society.
- provide a safe, calm and
supportive environment based on trust and mutual respect.
- encourage children to
be the best they can be by setting high expectations of interaction and behaviour.
the Christian ideals of service and generosity of spirit so that our pupils, as adults, may embrace the role of
responsible citizens and contribute to the common good.
Having set out our aspiration to achieve excellence, how can this
be measured in terms of actual results?
It is our realistic target to raise the performance
of each pupil by at least .5 of one grade above the GCSE prediction of Midyis or another baseline assessment on entry at Year
7. Continuous assessment, annual examinations, setting and reporting to parents, with whom we shall work
closely, will ensure progress in line with these projected GCSE results as pupils move through the school.
Chalfont St. Peter, Gerrards Cross, Chalfont St. Giles are all population
centres with a high percentage of professional parents whose children are likely to be motivated and encouraged at home.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Chalfont St. Peter, sends a number of pupils to grammar school each year.
Chalfont Community College achieved 65% A*-C grades at GCSE (including English and Maths). Given
that class sizes will be smaller at the Free School and the school community will be closer knit, allowing closer scrutiny
and supportive pastoral care, it would not be over-ambitious to aim for 80% A*-C grades at GCSE (including English and Maths).
These targets are both appropriate and desirable and provide a good foundation on which the school can build.
Our ethos at work in the curriculum
particular ethos demands a well-balanced menu of academic and physical, practical and cultural learning since we have been
given a variety of gifts. There will therefore be an emphasis on sport and healthy living, on art, drama
and music so that pupils may discover and develop their talents, whatever they may be. Extra-curricular
activities will give further scope for the latent athlete or actor. Success will be celebrated and rewarded in whatever field
it occurs. Those who do not shine academically will be applauded and encouraged for their own success; those who do will receive
their accolades in due measure. Latin and other classical subjects will be included in the timetable to
offer challenge and interest.
Service to others will play a prominent part as an
essential element of our ethos. Our PSHE programme will teach attitudes of understanding and acceptance
of those of other cultures, faiths and capabilities both physical and mental. The generosity of spirit, of which we spoke
earlier, will grow through an awareness of the poverty and suffering of people in other countries – and our own –
and a desire to alleviate their situation. Fundraising will be organised by the pupils through acts of
self-sacrifice or creative activity. Support for CAFOD and other agencies or hospices or local good causes
will be promoted.
Because we are a Catholic school, we shall invite and warmly welcome
those who wish to join our community from different cultures and languages. Lessons will be provided to
help them to integrate into our school. We welcome also those pupils with special educational needs who
can, with the support of well-qualified staff, benefit from the education we offer.
influence of our Catholic faith on the curriculum
Our faith finds expression
in the ethos which permeates the fabric of a Catholic school. This has been described in the previous paragraph.
The practice of our religious beliefs will be present in the prayers we say at morning assembly,in the hymns we sing.
Our Religious Education syllabus will teach the Catholic faith and study the Old and New Testaments, recognising feasts
such as Christmas and Easter. Mass will be celebrated to mark certain special days and sacramental preparation
may take place. During the seasons of Advent and Lent services may be held during breaks or at the end
Because excellence in performance characterises Catholic
schools as they require all pupils to work to the best of their ability, the practice of the faith does not in general disrupt
the curriculum but provides an incentive to attain the highest standards ‘to the greater glory of God’.