Interview with Founding Member

Michael, why did you want to get involved in a free school application?

Simply put, choice and ethos. My wife and I are parents to 3 boys. We’ve been
through the primary school application process and it wasn’t easy but we did have
choice. In the end, after a lot of soul searching we chose a primary school with a
Christian ethos as we felt this was right for our children. However, very rarely does
this sort of option exist at secondary level. I don’t think that’s right and wanted to
change that.

How would you describe the vision of CFS?

Individuals, Enterprise, Christian Faith.

All of our thinking, interactions with parents and discussions with local key people
keep coming back to these three key things.

CFS demand excellence in these three areas

What do you mean by excellence? Don’t all schools strive for this?

Any school worth its salt seeks to provide an outstanding education tailored to
individual need. Whether those needs be gender-specific, SEND (Special
Educational Needs & Disability), AG&T (Able Gifted & Talented), academic,
vocational, or needs associated with disadvantage, I think most schools seek to do
their best to ensure all students succeed and go on to do something they are good at and enjoy.

However, we want to be a school where the question ‘is this excellent?’ is part of the culture for all. We will ‘sweat the small stuff’ to ensure that our young
people excel in exams, character, and in life, no matter what their background or
abilities.

Small stuff?

Uniform, presentation, accuracy in literacy, decorous behaviour in corridors, treating others as we wish to be treated, listening… to name but a few. If we model a culture of faithfulness in the little things, this we will ensure the same in the large ones. Get the culture right and the desired examination outcomes that all schools seek will follow.

Tell me more about Enterprise.

Enterprise is often synonymous with entrepreneurship, and whilst this will feature in our curriculum, the scope is much wider than this. Many of the jobs that will be available to my children when they leave education don’t currently exist. The landscape is changing at a phenomenal rate and it is vital that we prepare our young men and women so that they have the necessary can-do attitude, resilience and experience to thrive in the future.

We are forging links with local entrepreneurs and businesses – we have a wealth of experience in this area within our founding group – building enterprise skills into our curriculum, and championing enterprise in everything we do. Our partner school, Fulham Boys School, does this exceptionally well and we will work closely with them to make this happen.

Faith, specifically a Christian faith. Why is this needed in the 21st century
education?

I think perhaps the first thing to say is that parents want this for their children. It’s no coincidence that most faith-based secondary schools are heavily oversubscribed.

I think many parents, no matter what their faith, are looking to be supported as they raise their children with sound moral values that aren’t liable to the winds of change. Some want their children to learn about Christianity as they recognise it forms the foundation for much of our culture, for example, our laws and much of our literature, Others have said they want their children to be feel able to express their beliefs in a supporting and accepting environment.

Perhaps a key point here is that we, like Fulham Boys School, want our young people to engage in educated debate and reasoning about the Christian faith, not be told what to believe. Ultimately, the Christian faith offers solutions to many of the problems of the 21st century – social, economic, moral – and it would be foolish not to give young people the opportunity to explore these.

So it isn’t a school just for Christians?

No. Like any school, parents, students and staff will need to support our ethos, but
our admissions policy is open to all.

Can you tell me more about the curriculum?

That’s a short question with a very long answer. Essentially we are balancing
knowledge based learning with skills that we believe are required to thrive not just in exams but in life. Faith and Enterprise will be found throughout and our extended day will give more opportunities for enrichment activities, academic and pastoral support. We will offer GCSEs and vocational courses at key stage 4. We will be modelling much of our curriculum on the Fulham Boys School model, but adapting it based on local need and opportunity.

What’s next in the application process?

The application has been submitted and we are now awaiting an interview with the
Department for Education. At this interview we need to demonstrate that this is a
school parents want for their children. Essentially, if you think this sounds like the
school for your children, please go to the Register Interest page on our website and follow the instructions on the ‘click here’ link. It takes less than a minute but it’s vital if we want to be successful.