Lack of self review cannot be held to be a Cumnor vice! Development in every sense has always been at the forefront of minds as the school has expanded from one model (two forms per year group) to a larger one (three forms per year group in the prep school), ending up with a school with a capacity of 365 pupils, balanced as evenly between boys and girls as possible.
The last ten years have seen development in all aspects of Cumnor life: much of what follows in terms of changes to the infrastructure can be found explained in more detail in Handbooks and Policies.
ACADEMIC AND CO-CURRICULAR
Design Technology, Swimming, Drama, Design Technology and PHSE have all entered the timetable during this time frame, whilst Music and PE have been spread across the age ranges. This is in addition to the English, Maths, Science, French, Latin, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Art, and ICT. The ICT dept. maintains Interactive White Boards for all classes and a bank of ‘wireless’ notebooks supports the provision of a central ‘net’ of 20 computers in the ICT room. All Year 7 pupils are using iPad technology across the curriculum. Music Technology, supported by 12 Apple Macs in the Music Room is now taught to senior pupils.
The systems of ‘prep’ and assessment and reporting are recorded elsewhere. Cumnor is a school where the co-curriculum of Music, Art, Drama and Sport is given full and equal rein. The sporting ethos and policies may be read elsewhere. Swimming and Athletics have become important ‘minor’ sports and the key is on ‘inclusion’ in sport throughout a pupil’s time at Cumnor. Tours within the UK and abroad (to Cape Town) are on offer, as is a regular Ski Trip. A Music Trip to the Chateau de Sauveterre takes place for the 60+ members of the first Orchestra each summer. Pupils in Year 5 have the option of a French Trip over 5 days to ‘La Chaumiere’ – a purpose built farmhouse in Gascogny providing French ‘immersion’ alongside classmates.
One of the first innovations ten years ago was a tutorial system for the Years 6, 7 & 8 to reinforce support and communication for pupils and with parents. The latter is reinforced by frequent Parents’ Evenings’ and reviews of exercise books. Rewards for good work in the form of ‘Commendations’ and ‘Distinctions’ gained for work shown to the Headmaster were introduced and ‘Academic Heroes’ are selected on a weekly basis. Discipline is reinforced through a system of ‘warnings’ and ‘yellow slips’ and, occasionally a detention administered by the Assistant Headmaster. Each term sees a new Head Boy and Head Girl as well as House Captains (one boy, one girl) for each of the four Houses to which all pupils from Reception onwards are affiliated. Boarding (voluntary) during the last two years at prep school was encouraged through the introduction of ‘occasional’ but regular 2/3 nights a week boarding as a taster before opting for the full bi=weekly pattern.
The structure and timings of the school day are oft discussed and tweaked. Overall timings for pre-prep and prep school are kept as harmonious as possible, with lunchtimes staggered from midday onwards to allow all children to sit and eat with peers, friends and staff for a set and settles period.
FACILITIES AND BUILDINGS
The last ten years have seen the building of an indoor 25 metre pool, a major classroom block (6 classes and a D/T room), a theatre complex, several additional individual classrooms and the conversion of the Barn into a Music HQ, two new dormitory wings for 35 boys and 35 girls, a fresh ‘plateau’ of pitches, two new tennis/netball courts (with floodlighting for all four and the mini ‘astro’), new play areas for the pre=prep (Grace’s Garden’ and ‘Ruby Towers’), a new kitchen and an extended dining room.. All this in addition to the many internal rearrangements that have produced a new library area, a new sick bay, a larger secretarial HQ, bigger changing rooms for pupils and a relocated Headmaster’s Study.
We aim not to stand still: complacency is sterile. The Headmaster and Senior Management Team review all aspects of school life non-stop. The school operates a ‘masterplan’ for development, endlessly updated. With the assistance and guidance of the Governors’ ‘Development Committee’ the buildings and grounds are under constant review . By the time you read this, fresh projects and developments will have been announced and will be under way.