Newsbite #7: Wanted: Cornerstone Ambassadors
11 January 2019
Just before Christmas, we received a letter from the DfE asking for clarification on some of our curriculum proposals. We see this as a positive that they want to know more about our application and Fulham Boys School, the trust providers. We await an invitation from the government for interview with bated breath!
In the mean time we are preparing as thoroughly as possible. This includes working with local businesses to strengthen our curriculum offer, liaising with Cambridge University and particularly those involved in rolling out a programme of study that focuses on raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils; site meeting; looking at school building plans; doing practice interviews; continuing to try and increase local support.
Wanted: People who could be parent ambassadors in primary schools. Do you have a child in a local primary school in Year 5 or Year 4? Would you be happy to talk to friends and other parents in the school, share our flyers and explain to others why you signed up to hear our updates?
Also, anyone who works in any of the local secondary schools – we want to form positive links where we will collaborate with other local providers to improve the educational offer in the whole area, not just in our school. We see this as a community networking venture and our proposal would see us linking teachers, governors, parents and pupils together.
If you can help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsbite #6: Milestone Reached!
7 December 2018
We are delighted to announce that we have passed 400 registrations of interest. This stands us in good stead for our interviews with the DfE, demonstrating the level of local demand for this school.
In other recent developments, we are genuinely thrilled to share the news that our partner school, Fulham Boys School, has been included by the government in the annual Parliamentary Review ‘Highlighting Best Practice’.
You can read their contribution to the review here. We encourage you to do this as it gives an excellent synopsis of the FBS philosophy, which will contribute to the key pillars of Cornerstone Free School.
Also, have a read of an interview with a member of the local committee which helps to explain why we are inspired to bring Fulham Boys School excellence to our area.
See our recent article printed in The Spectrum Village Magazine below:
Newsbite #5: Increasing Support.
23 November 2018
Since our last #Newsbite went out, we have had a flurry of new signatures. Thank you and welcome to the campaign, where we are hoping to generate enough support for the DfE to see that demand for our Free School Proposal is very high! Please do read through our previous #Newsbites below, as these contain important information for you as supporters.
We have now reached 215 online signatures which is fantastic and greatly strengthens our case with the DfE. We will be contacting them, along with our Regional Schools Commissioner, and the Local Education Authority before Christmas, to give an update on the level of support. We would love to be able to report that we have hit 400+ supporters, as this will make them consider ours a very viable proposal!
We are pressing forward with our marketing now and the next four weeks are vital. There are many ways in which we are trying to attract these extra signatures. This week you may have seen we featured in The Hunts Post newspaper as well as many local village magazines. If your village magazine hasn’t made mention of our proposal yet (lots will go out in the first week of December), please feel free to contact us so that we can rectify this! Please do share any reports you see with others who may not have heard of our proposal.
We have delivered nearly 7,000 flyers through doors and are now planning to increase engagement by visiting local Christmas Markets:
- Mill Road Winter Fair, Dec 1st, 10.30am
- St Ives Christmas Market, Dec 8th, 10am
- Dobbies in Huntingdon (previously Wyvale), Dec 8th, 10.30am.
Come and support or help us, and spread the word to friends and family, that at all three of these events, we will be handing out FREE goodies to the FIRST 100 NEW sign ups on each of those days.
If you would be happy to help at any of these events, or have ideas as to how to generate another 200 signatures, we would love to hear from you! We are also in correspondence to arrange publicity slots with BBC Look East and BBC Cambridge news channels.
We have another Marketing Event just around the corner. Look out for this, as it is your chance play a part in the Cornerstone Free School branding journey! On Monday 26th November, we will be launching a competition to design the Sports Kits for our school. This created a frenzy of excitement when Fulham Boys School was establishing itself, and the kit their students wear at all fixtures, to this day, was designed by a current pupil. We like this! All you need to do is to download the templates from the website (available on Monday), design your kits and submit them by Friday 21st December, to email@example.com. Anyone can participate, but they must have signed our petition, so each design must be submitted with an email address, so we can reference these against our list of current supporters. The Ts&Cs, and more information will be available on the website next week. We will announce a winner early in 2019.
Finally, what better tool to market our school than the Fulham Boys themselves? In this video, students at FBS explain why they love their education and why they feel passionately that other teenagers in Huntingdonshire should have the opportunity to experience the same.
The two key players behind the outstanding education experienced by students at FBS are working closely with us to bring our plans to reality. They say of our proposal:
I am really excited about the prospect of the new Cornerstone Free School. I truly believe in, and am wholly committed to, The Fulham Boys School brand of education, and believe all pupils should have access to the highest standards of education, irrespective of their background. Our aim is for all our schools, including Cornerstone, to be among the best schools in the country – state or private. Parents should have a real choice in the type of school they want for their children and I imagine, like The Fulham Boys School, Cornerstone Free School will prove very popular and heavily oversubscribed. We have been impressed by the local team’s rigour, broad range of abilities, and commitment to academic excellence. We look forward to working with them over the next few years in establishing a school that is built upon the Christian faith, nurtures enterprise and brings out the best in boys and girls, serving Huntingdonshire for many generations to come” – Alun Ebenezer, CEO Designate of the CSS MAT Trust.
“Cornerstone Free School promises to be as successful and forward thinking as the Fulham Boys School. Our brand of Education is different, relevant, exciting, and holds the key to a successful future for all children, no matter what their background. I completely believe in the local team’s ability and determination to open Cornerstone Free School, and am committed to working with and supporting them in establishing an over-subscribed and thriving Secondary School in Huntingdonshire” – Alex Wade, Chairman Designate of the CSS MAT Trust
Newsbite #4: Application Submitted!
9 November 2018
Our application is now complete and the Department for Education (DfE) have confirmed that they have received it from the leadership team at our partner school, Fulham Boys School.
It has taken many months of work and has benefited from the input and feedback of so many different people from across the community. This has been essential for the production of a school model, which we hope will serve the local community and be a beacon of excellence.
We hope DfE are as excited by our proposal as we are! If so we will be invited to an interview in January, with a final decision being known by Spring 2019.
We need your continued help
You can continue to help us persuade the DfE to approve our plans. The more support we have for the school, the more likely Cornerstone is to get approval.
One way to show the DfE the level of support for the school is from website signups, and Twitter and Facebook followers. Please make sure you are following us, and share our proposal with anyone else you think may be interested.
We now have the enormous task of ensuring our flyers are delivered to all households in the area that may have primary school aged children whose parents haven’t heard of our proposal and would like to register their interest.
View the flyer here.
Please get in touch with us if you are willing to spare a little time to help with this!
Newsbite #3: Ofsted / SIAMS reports for FBS
26 October 2018
This week we have had further meetings to finalise our Application, which will be submitted to the DfE next week. We believe we have made a strong case for the need for a new Secondary School in Huntingdonshire, with a Christian ethos.
So what can you expect from Cornerstone Free School if our application is successful?
In the process of writing our application, we have had the privilege of gaining an insight into running a successful, oversubscribed Christian Secondary school, through working closely with the Headteacher and Chair of governors at Fulham Boys School in London.
We have visited the school and been shown round by pupils, who were polite, courteous and extremely proud of their school. All who visited were extremely impressed with the academic excellence, the obviously engaging, innovative teaching and the care the school shows for every single individual pupil. One of those who went to Fulham Boys School commented:
“Never mind sending my children there, I’d send me there!”
It is safe to say that the children at Fulham Boys School are safe, happy, engaged, achieving and exposed to excellent curriculum teaching coupled with a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. What more could you want from a Secondary school?
We have also had to break down the most recent Fulham Boys School Ofsted and SIAMS (church) Inspection reports as part of our application. The findings of these reports inspire us to want to provide a similar, exceptional education experience for teenagers in Huntingdonshire:
- Pupils are aspirational for their future.
- They are encouraged to be enterprising and independent through a range of activities both in school and in the wider community.
- The Core Curriculum is academically strong.
- Staff are very proud to work at the school and are fully committed to the aspirational ethos.
- The headteacher has created a school which aims to achieve academic and personal excellence for all.
- Boys live and breathe good manners and courtesy.
As one parent stated in response to the Ofsted survey:
‘In Fulham Boys School, my son has not only excelled academically, but he is growing into a well-rounded young man.’
View the full inspection reports here:
Having been to Fulham and experienced their school first-hand, this is just what we want Cornerstone to offer in the Huntingdonshire area.
Our partnership with Fulham Boys School gives us confidence that we can provide the same outstanding level of education.
Newsbite #2: A-Levels
18 October 2018
As the deadline for our school submission is now less than 2 weeks away, we need to finalise our application.
Our intention is to provide education from age 11 right up to 19.
However the Department for Education are suggesting that no new schools should offer A-levels due to funding cuts.
Do you agree that CFS should offer A-levels?
If you agree that we need more A-level provision in the local area, please click the link below to register your details, showing your support for Cornerstone offering A-levels.
If we don’t get strong support from the community we will be forced to drop A-levels from our plan.
If you have already registered, please refer to your Newsbite #2 email, which has a link to allow you to register your support for A-levels.
Newsbite #1: Open Consultation Meetings
11 October 2018
On Monday 8th we held our first open consultation meetings. It was very good to see the range of community representation and potential stakeholders in our school in attendance, including headteachers, LEA representatives and local district Councillors.
It was a real pleasure to welcome prospective students, and their parents. We particularly want to engage with those whose educational opportunities we are investing in and so it was good to be able to do this. One parent commented:
“We would have signed up for the school on the spot, if we could!”
As we have come to expect, Alun Ebenezer (headmaster of our partner school) delivered an inspiring presentation – exactly what moved us to this project in the first place!
Do you wonder what inspired the quote above? Watch the video of the presentation to find out exactly why you would want your child to benefit from the ethos and curriculum aims of Cornerstone Free School.
Questions were raised afterwards about the potential site. At present we are working with the LEA and local stakeholders to establish the optimum location for the school to benefit as many students as possible.
We also take into account where the greatest interest for our school comes from, and so we continue to encourage anyone interested to register on our website. By registering your interest, you are not making a firm commitment to enroll in our school – neither does it guarantee you a place, if our proposal is approved.
We will hope to provide further clarity on the site as soon as possible – look out for further newsbites!