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Who can help if my child is struggling?

A child may struggle academically, socially, emotionally or physically. We have the right people in place to help. Our SENCo might lead on academic issues; whereas the tutor, head of year or assistant head of year may be the right person to lead on social or emotional issues. Our school nurse is there to advise on medical matters that can include worries about physical or mental health. The best advice is to begin a conversation with the member of staff that you feel most comfortable talking through the worry or concern. That person can then signpost to the right person or people, to help without delay.

Q. Who should my child go to if they have a worry?

This is a topic that we return to very, very regularly with the children all the way through their time at CNS. The answer very much depends on the problem and so it could be the tutor (who they see every single morning), the head of year or assistant head of year, the careers advisor, the school nurse, or their individual teachers. If a parent or carer has a worry then they can approach the tutor, head of year or assistant head of year in the first instance. You can call or arrange to meet, but we encourage a quick email to nip problems in the bud. Full contact information is available on our website.

Q. What are the school’s current improvement goals?

We have sought to avoid C19 derailing our goals to further improve our school. Even throughout the various challenges presented by C19 we have strived to achieve excellence as standard in a range of areas: curriculum design, standards of teaching and learning, GCSE and A level outcomes and meeting the needs of our most vulnerable or disadvantaged learners. Nevertheless, we correctly balance the need to respond with urgency to the crisis caused by C19 and yet always look to the future. In doing so we seek to model, to our students, that in life we have to balance personal strife and lifelong ambitions.

Q. What are the school beliefs about teaching and learning?

This is a great question with a complex answer. At its heart, it is our belief that a student’s potential is unknown and that we can each become our best self over the course of time if we are prepared to be challenged and to challenge others. We embrace a knowledge-rich curriculum that says that knowledge is the rocket fuel of great thoughts, which concludes that the greater our knowledge then the farther those thoughts will soar. In the classroom, teachers are committed to a high-TEMP learning environment; this refers to us crafting highly engaging Task design, super-clear Explanations, Models of completed activities that show students what excellence looks like, and opportunities created for students to Practice with support and increasing levels of independence.

Q. What do the symbols on the house badges mean?

Each house badge has a different colour. However, the top right (bell tower) and bottom left (rivers) quadrants are the same and replicate the school badge. Each house then has its own unique icons in the top left (an animal) and bottom left (an object) quadrants. These images (and associated virtues) were chosen by the elected student council in late 2018.  Stour and compassion are denoted by the loyal dog and the empathic mind.  Evenlode and curiosity is denoted by the inquisitive fox and the magnifying glass.  Glyme and creativity is denoted by the resourceful stag and the artists’ pallet. Windrush and courage are denoted by the brave hare and the heart.

Q. What do the symbols on the school badge mean?

The school badge has four quadrants. One relates to the school’s bell tower, which has been in place since the school opened in 1929. Another contains four wavy lines that denote the school’s four houses that are named after local rivers: Stour, Evenlode, Glyme and Windrush. The other quadrants refer to the importance of thought (the cog) and creativity (the lightbulb).

Q. What are the school values?

We seek to educate the whole child and not simply chase superb examination results. This means that we seek to develop the character of each student and promote four virtues in particular: compassion, curiosity, creativity and courage. These four vitus are tied to our four houses: Stour, Evenlode, Glyme and Windrush.

Q. What are results like?

We have a dedicated results page but are rightly proud of our results in recent years at both GCSE and A level. This is reflected in the Outstanding judgment of our sixth form by Ofsted, and headline results at GCSE that include: 80% achieving grades 4 to 9 in English and mathematics; Almost 90% grades 4 to 9 in English and over 85% in mathematics; One-third gaining grades 7 to 9 in English, and in mathematics; Over 80% achieve at least one GCSE grade 4 to 9 in biology, chemistry or physics with almost 60% achieving two or more strong passes in those subjects. Performance in the optional subjects is equally impressive and particularly so in French, German, History and Geography. In recent times, one third of all A level grades are grades A or A*, with almost 90% between …

Q. What do Ofsted say?

Ofsted visited CNS towards the end of 2017 and judged the school to be Good overall with an Outstanding sixth form. Please read the Ofsted report for more information.

Q. How do children outside Chipping Norton get to school?

The children of families living over three miles from Chipping Norton School and within Oxfordshire are entitled to free transport provided by OCC. There are a number of buses and bus routes serving the school. Details are available from OCC.

Q. We live out of catchment. Should we apply?

Yes. We now have students who live in Warwickshire and Gloucestershire and we also have to be ready for more rapid growth in student numbers once the local housing projects are underway in the next few years.  Our numbers have grown significantly in recent years but we do not intend to turn away applicants and will instead expand the school to meet the needs of our community.

Q. How do you protect students from cyberbullying?

In terms of online safety and all the associated issues, we have a strong programme in our Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) lessons which cover all of this. That involves visits from the police who sometimes come in and speak to students about the dangers and indeed what the law is surrounding these issues. If children experience online issues then we aim to always get to the bottom of that, working closely with parents and carers. This is because in approximately 90% of cases, this is happening at home in bedrooms outside school hours. This is why we ask parents and carers to be vigilant and have clear boundaries/rules in place at home in relation to the use and monitoring of technology. When incidents happen in school, or have an impact in school,  then we have a clear …

Q. Can my child take a phone to school?

Yes – if it is not seen or heard during school hours (8:40am to 3:15pm). Students may use their phone in lessons if their teacher wishes to use them as part of the lesson. Students are also able to use their phones to contact a family member if they seek permission from their Head of Year or Assistant Head of Year, in the first instance. If a student uses or misuses their phone then it will be confiscated and then returned to their parent or carer later that day. Students enjoy our common sense approach on this and other sensible ‘rules’ at CNS.

Q. My child loves music. Can they study music and learn to play an instrument as well?

Music is compulsory in Years 7 to 9 and then a GCSE and A level option thereafter. Full access to peripatetic teaching is also available and organised though Mr Brown, Head of Music.

Q. Are you an academy?

Yes. Since 2017 we are proud and committed members of the River Learning Trust (RLT). Being part of the RLT ensures we remain at the cutting edge of best practice in teaching, learning, curriculum development, safeguarding, and health and safety. We enjoy the autonomy to be CNS and the unity to be stronger than the sum of our parts.

Q. Do you have specialist rooms and equipment?

Yes! Do look at the individual department pages but we have: 10 specialist science laboratories, 4 art rooms (including the kiln), 3 resistant materials rooms (including the 3D laser cutter), 2 food tech rooms, 1 textiles room, 1 graphics room, 7 computer rooms, 2 music rooms, five music practice rooms, a 140-seat lecture theatre, a gymnasium, a sports hall, a full size astro turf, and a recently refurbished sixth form centre that is unparalleled locally. In addition, we have fully digitised classrooms and our pride and joy: the school library – dating back to 1929.

Q. Do all students have to own Chromebooks?

No. We regularly provide an opportunity for families to purchase a Chromebook (which includes an Education License) through the school. This is to assist with homework in KS3 but may be used in lessons in Years 10 to 13. Chromebooks have not and will not replace exercise books and are instead an additional tool for learning. Disadvantaged students are provided with a device, free of charge, throughout their time at CNS in order to avoid a digital divide.

Q. Do you set or stream your Year 7 children into ability groups?

At KS3, the students are taught in mixed ability groups. The exception is mathematics and they organise students into sets from January of Year 7. Teaching the students in mixed-ability groups allows us to challenge and stretch all students. Teachers always pitch to the top and provide scaffolds and supports to ensure that all students of all abilities can achieve the desired outcomes of lessons. We do not believe that a child’s true potential is known at the end of Year 6 and do not wish to do anything that might limit their growth.

Q. Do all children get hot meals from school, or do they have to bring in their own packed lunches? And how much do they cost?

We have a large school canteen that serves a wide range of hot and cold food during each break. Prices start from 50p for small items and the meal of the day currently costs £2.50. Students are allowed to bring in packed lunches if they prefer. Whether a Year 7 student has a packed lunch or buys from the canteen (or both), they always sit together in the Main Hall at tables. This allows students to mix and match whether they use the canteen or take a packed lunch. Our canteen facilities are all cashless and this means that parents and carers have to ‘top up’ their children’s account online on a regular basis – offering an option to impose a few spending limits…

Q. How much homework do Year 7s get?

The Year 7 students receive approximately one hour of homework per night each week. Please see our homework information page for more information.

Q. What kind of clubs are available and do they tend to be after school or lunchtime activities?

We have a wide range of clubs from ‘Healthy Cookery’, LAMDA (drama club with a qualification), ICT club, music clubs (including choir, flute group and music band), knit and natter, as well as a wide range of sports clubs. These clubs are both at lunchtimes and after school. An Extra Time Club leaflet is sent to every student in the Transition Pack in term six and updated before the start of each term with the latest menu of activities.

Q. What is the average class size?

The average class size in Year 7 is 26 students for both tutor groups and teaching groups. This is lower for GCSE option groups and much lower in A level classes.

Q. Will my child be able to be in the same class as their friends?

As part of the transition process we ask all pupils to nominate two friends that they would like to be with in the tutor group. We also use the information from the primary schools to guide us on which students work well together in the teaching groups. We confirm tutor groups in June, before term starts. We listen to students’ preferences and so combine the need to be with some friends, but also mix with new children as well. It works well each year and we can tweak a few class lists as we go along if necessary.

Q. How do children outside Chipping Norton get to school?

A. The children of families living over 3 miles from Chipping Norton School and within Oxfordshire are entitled to free transport provided by OCC. There are a number of buses and bus routes serving the school. Details are available from OCC.

Q. How can I find out more?

A. This website gives a good idea of what makes Chipping Norton School an exciting place to study but can not tell the whole story. Please arrange to visit or come to one of our Open Evenings.

Q. What are results like?

A. Among the very best in Oxfordshire. In 2017 GSCE English 9-4 = 87%, Maths 9-4 = 83%, 9-4 overall = 78%. These were up to 17% above national average. At A Level our value-added scores place us in the top 15% of schools nationally.

Q. What do Ofsted say?

A. Ofsted noted that “teachers are firmly focused on helping pupils achieve their best. Parents recognise and value this, as do their children.” Ofsted also said that “a rich seam of tolerance and respect runs through the school.”

Q. What makes Chipping Norton such a good school?

A. Our focus on high quality academic achievement coupled with our recognition that if students are happy, safe, supported and enjoy school life they will achieve their full potential.

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