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PROSPECTUS


What is a free school? A free school is a non-selective school that is funded by the taxpayer but is independent of state control. However, it is subject to inspection by Ofsted and is accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. Inspired by similar programmes in the United States and Sweden, the Coalition Government has been encouraging groups of parents and teachers to set up taxpayer-funded schools since it came to power in 2010. The West London Free School became the first school of this type to sign a funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education.

WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

WELCOME TO THE WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL

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FOREWORD WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

What makes the West London Free School special is that we’re offering children a classical liberal education – a core body of knowledge in a fairly narrow range of academic subjects, complemented by lots of art, music, drama and competitive sport. No technical subjects, no vocational ones. We believe in education for education’s sake – not as a preparation for future employment, but as an end in itself. We want all the pupils at our school to become acquainted with the best that’s been thought and written – Matthew Arnold’s definition of culture. This knowledge, together with the ability to think, is the best preparation for a rich and rewarding life.

Setting up a taxpayer-funded secondary school isn’t easy, but the dozen or so people that joined the Steering Committee were a remarkable bunch – passionate, determined, committed. Women like Suzie Hobart, a local mum whom I met when I addressed a group of parents from Southfield Primary School in a church hall. It is thanks to the tenacity and hard work of Suzie and the rest of the Steering Committee that we became the first free school to sign a funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education in 2011. I’m happy to say that most of them, including Suzie, agreed to become governors of the school – and our children will all be going to the school in due course. I can’t sign off without mentioning Mr Packer, our formidable Headmaster. We had over 100 applicants for the job, an unheard of number for any secondary school. I assembled a panel of experts to help me sift through them, including John McIntosh, the ex-Headmaster of the London Oratory School, and Alice Hudson, the Headmistress of an outstanding comprehensive in Acton. I think we all knew when Mr Packer walked into the room that we’d found our Head. Not only is he a man of huge experience and towering authority, but his vision of what a good school should be tallied exactly with ours.

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Please take the time to digest this prospectus. Our school won’t be to everyone’s taste and nor should it be. Parents should be able to choose the school they believe is best suited to their child. But we can promise you that if you do choose us we will do our best to make sure your child thrives, no matter how difficult he or she might find our academic curriculum. We want our school, like the schools that have inspired us, to be a grammar school for all. Kind regards Toby Young Chair of Governors

How it all started In August of 2009 I wrote an article for the Observer in which I said I wanted to start a ‘comprehensive grammar’, that is, a school with high expectations, strong discipline and a knowledgebased curriculum, but which is open to all, regardless of income, ability or faith. Within a week I’d been contacted by over 200 people offering to help, most of them parents and teachers in West London. I invited them all to a meeting at my house in Acton and over 50 people crowded into my front room. Out of that group, a Steering Committee emerged and, together, we embarked on this extraordinary journey. Some people have objected that a ‘comprehensive grammar’ is a contradiction in terms, like a ‘vegetarian butcher’. You simply can’t have grammar school standards at a school with a genuinely comprehensive intake. Happily, that’s not true. There are plenty of excellent schools that achieve this, such as Burlington Danes in Shepherd’s Bush and Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney.

WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

I knew when he accepted the job that the West London Free School would be a success – and so it has proved to be. None of our pupils have had any difficulty with Latin and there’s been plenty to occupy them outside the classroom. The school’s debating club, for instance, got into the final of the local junior debating league and the girl’s netball team finished second in the local netball league. Earlier this year, Miss Cann, our Head of Classics, took a group of children off to Florence, while in the summer Mr Naismith, our Deputy Head, took a group to Salcombe to learn how to sail. We’re a music specialist school and Mr Watkins, the Head of Music, has got two-thirds of our pupils learning a musical instrument – pretty impressive when you consider the average in London’s schools is just eight per cent.


WELCOME FROM THE HEADMASTER WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

I am delighted to be the Headmaster of the West London Free School and to be at the helm as the school grows. Ours is a vibrant and inspiring environment and, should you choose us, I look forward to seeing your child flourish throughout their time with us. Moving up into secondary school is an exciting time. At the West London Free School pupils have all kinds of fantastic opportunities – to make new friends, develop new skills, extend their knowledge and understanding, be inspired to discover and explore, and to take part in activities they may not have tried before. Our school culture encourages pupils to stretch themselves mentally and physically. We have high expectations of every one and, most importantly, we want them to develop into confident, capable individuals. We aim to recognise each pupil’s particular strengths and encourage them to excel, with the emphasis on academic attainment, but with plenty of music, art, drama and sport thrown in. We assess according to each pupil’s personal best, not against national averages. We know that every child is different and has their own potential to fulfil. All the staff at the West London Free School are committed to bringing out the best in our pupils through an invigorating and varied curriculum, strong pastoral support and positive encouragement. You are joining the West London School at an early stage in its life. It is an exciting time for us specifically, and for education generally, and we hope you and your child will enjoy being part of our pioneering crew. With my best wishes Thomas Packer The Headmaster

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WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS


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WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

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ABOUT THE SCHOOL WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

The West London Free School aims to become one of the best schools in the country, renowned for academic excellence and capable of instilling world-beating ambition in all its pupils, no matter what their background. A high aspiration, perhaps, but all the aspirations we have for our school are high – particularly when it comes to our pupils’ academic attainment. As a free school, we are not required to follow the National Curriculum. We have taken what we believe to be the best elements of modern, comprehensive education and combined them with more traditional elements from grammar and independent schools. For instance, Latin is compulsory up to the age of 14. Our aim throughout is to provide pupils with a classical liberal education – a core body of knowledge in Science and the Humanities and the ability to think critically and independently about a broad range of issues. Our school motto, sapere aude, means ‘dare to know’ and we encourage all our pupils to approach everything they do with this attitude. Academic achievement is one of our key priorities, but we also want all our pupils to become well-rounded individuals and develop interests they become passionate about. We specialise in music, encourage all pupils to get involved in competitive sport and provide a broad range of extracurricular activities. We believe teaching and learning should be underpinned by outstanding pastoral care and strong discipline, and for that reason we expect pupils to observe the school’s strict code of conduct and to show courtesy to others at all times.

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Our key objectives: • To encourage all pupils to be confident, hard-working and ambitious, regardless of background. • To transmit a core body of knowledge to all pupils and the ability to think for themselves. • To ensure that 100 per cent of pupils pass at least 8 GCSEs or IGCSEs at grade C or above, including English, English Literature, Maths, History, Science and a Foreign Language. • To encourage every pupil to continue into the Sixth Form and go on to a good university. • To attract and retain outstanding teachers. • To instil a lifelong love of learning.


Pupils in each year group are divided into five tutor groups of 24. During Key Stage 3 (11-14), most subjects are delivered through the tutor groups with additional classes in Maths and English to provide stretch and support. Each tutor group is looked after by a Form Tutor who is responsible for monitoring and supporting the academic progress of the pupils in that form, as well as attending to their pastoral needs. More specifically, Form Tutors are responsible for: • registering pupil attendance • dealing with pupil administration matters • setting pupil targets and monitoring progress and attainment • engaging pupils in meaningful activities • delivering the PSHE programme. Form Tutors are the first point of contact for parents. We like to nip problems in the bud and are happy to meet with you to discuss anything that is worrying you about your child’s progress or welfare. As the school grows, there will be Senior Tutors for each year group who will set the pastoral and academic tone for the cohort. They will offer support to Form Tutors and provide additional support to those pupils with the greatest needs.

Every pupil automatically becomes a member of one of four houses – Athenians, Corinthians, Olympians and Spartans. Houses are organised vertically and contain pupils from each year group. Each house supports a charity and pupils are encouraged to organise fundraising activities throughout the school year. The house system enables us to run a diverse range of activities, including sport, music, drama and art competitions, and engenders a healthy team spirit. We believe that pupils should have the opportunity to work together outside of their year groups with a view to creating a strong bond throughout the school. Teachers are also members of houses and, although not directly responsible for pupil wellbeing and attainment, the Housemasters and Housemistresses are another source of support for pupils. All support staff, such as our cooking and cleaning staff, also belong to houses and take an active part in supporting house events.

WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

Tutor groups and houses


ABOUT THE SCHOOL

Habits of Mind These are the observed characteristics of good independent learners: • Persisting

• Questioning and posing problems

• Managing impulsiveness

• Finding humour

• Listening with understanding and empathy

• Gathering data through all the senses

• Thinking flexibly

• Creating, imagining and innovating

• Thinking about your thinking

• Responding with wonderment and awe

• Striving for accuracy

• Taking responsible risks

• Applying past knowledge to new situations

• Thinking independently

• Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

• Remaining open to continuous learning

WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

We want our pupils to make a habit of these traits and all members of staff reinforce these habits during their interaction with pupils. We have also integrated this approach into the curriculum. For example, if pupils are learning about ‘Persisting’ they might study Moby Dick in English and look at explorers in History and Geography.

Assemblies

Extended school day

These are principally held by year group, although there are also opportunities to bring together the whole school community at times during the year. Parents are always very welcome to attend our assemblies and celebrate our pupils’ achievements.

The school operates an extended day to enable pupils to take part in a range of extra-curricular activities as well as supervised study sessions. Pupils are expected to remain in school – or attend music or drama clubs nearby – until 5.00pm Mondays to Thursdays. On Fridays the school day finishes at 3.50pm.

External partnerships As part of our involvement in the wider community, we aim to enhance our overall offer through partnerships that enrich pupils’ learning and experience. We are extremely lucky to be working closely with the Lyric Hammersmith, whereby the theatre’s specialist staff deliver a drama programme within the curriculum, as well as offering after-school activities. This is not restricted to acting alone. We realise that not all children want to be performers and, through the Lyric, they have the opportunity to learn about the more technical aspects of the theatre, such as lighting, sound and stage management. Similarly, we enjoy an excellent relationship with Godolphin and Latymer School which provides support to the school in various ways. We use external premises for our sports facilities which enables us to choose the best grounds possible for the various games that we offer.

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Homework Pupils in Year 7 are expected to do approximately one hour of homework every night. However, the exact amount they’re given each day varies according to what subject work they’re doing. The amount of homework increases as they progress through the school.


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THE CURRICULUM WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

For the first three years, pupils follow a broad and challenging academic programme. As pupils move into Key Stage 4 (14-16) they study a range of subjects that will lead to between 8 and 10 GCSEs or IGCSEs. Key Stage 3 (11-14) Mathematics Pupils are set according to ability from Year 8 onwards. English Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups at this stage. We are planning for setting to take place in Years 10 and 11. Latin Latin is a compulsory subject for all pupils during Key Stage 3. Modern Foreign Languages All pupils learn French in Key Stage 3, taught in tutor groups in Year 7 and in ability sets from Year 8. Pupils will also have the option of learning a second Modern Foreign Language, in addition to French and Latin, from Year 9. In Year 7, pupils also have the opportunity to learn German, Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish and Italian in our after-school clubs. Sciences We teach pupils the three sciences separately from the start of Year 7. This gives them a solid grounding in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, working in mixed ability groups. Setting begins in Key Stage 4 based on whether pupils are working towards qualifications in three separate science subjects, a dual award qualification or a single award qualification. In each case, pupils continue to study the sciences as separate subjects. Music This is a core subject in Key Stage 3, taught in Tutor Groups with additional theory lessons for Music Scholars.

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The following subjects are all taught in mixed ability tutor groups in Key Stages 3 and 4: Art, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Drama, Physical Education and Games. Information and Communications Technology ICT is embedded across the curriculum rather than taught as a separate subject, with different subject teachers taking responsibility for the delivery of different skills and topics. Personal, Social and Health Education This is delivered by Form Tutors. In addition, we provide a Faculty Studies course In Years 7 and 8 whereby pupils take an interdisciplinary approach to studying a topic such as ‘The Ancient World’ or ‘The Renaissance’. This holistic approach enables pupils to step outside narrowly defined, subject-based viewpoints and explore a topic from many different perspectives. Stretch and Support All pupils attend stretch and support classes in English and Maths where they will either receive additional help or be stretched, according to their needs.


Special Educational Needs

All pupils will be expected to do the following core subjects: English, English Literature, Maths, History, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (worth between one and three GCSEs/IGCSEs, depending on the depth of study) and an Ancient and/or Modern Foreign Language.

The West London Free School is fully inclusive and makes provision for pupils with SEN. If your child needs specific support you will be invited to meet with the Headmaster and the SEN Coordinator to discuss the provision required in more detail.

Options Pupils then choose a further two options from a range of subjects that include an additional Foreign Language, Geography, Religious Studies, Music, Art, Drama, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History and Computer Science. The aim is for all pupils to pass 8-10 GCSEs or IGCSEs, depending on the depth of scientific study. Sport All pupils are expected to take part in Physical Education and Games.

WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

Key Stage 4 (14-16)


WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

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MUSIC WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

Music is our school specialism and forms a core aspect of a classical liberal education. Twelve pupils per year are admitted according to musical aptitude and they receive free tuition on one instrument. In return, we expect them to make a serious commitment to their musical education. All pupils are offered instrumental tuition during the school day from a choice of all the orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, drum kit and singing. More than half the school took instrumental lessons in our first year. Progress is ensured through the use of ABRSM, ABRSM Jazz, Trinity and Rock School grades. The school’s aspiration is that every pupil passes a grade for each year they learn. Our extra-curricular programme gives pupils the opportunity to sing and play in a variety of musical styles: rock bands, chamber ensembles, folk groups, jazz ensembles and a range of choirs. Choral singing is a particular strength of the school. At the start of the year, each tutor group spends a day with a specialist singing teacher creating a class song performance. Many of these pupils go on to be in our choir, which sings a mixture of pop, spirituals and classical music and performs at all the major school concerts. Those pupils who show a particular love of singing join the school chamber choir which sings in at least four parts and represents the school at performances around London. In our first year, for instance, the chamber choir sang at the Royal Festival Hall.

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The Music Department at the West London Free School has high aspirations for all of our pupils. Pupils involved in music at our school have the chance to benefit from a wonderful musical education – but we also make sure that they have fun along the way.


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WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

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WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

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SPORT WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

Sport plays a significant part in the life of the West London Free School. We regard sport not as a diversion for the less academically able, but an intellectual exercise as much as a physical one. We firmly believe in the spirit of healthy competition and hope our pupils develop the desire to win. We offer a range of sports, including athletics, cricket, gymnastics, hockey, netball, rounders, rowing, rugby, softball and tennis. We are keen to challenge and stimulate the less athletic pupil, as well as the most athletically gifted.

We realise that a lot of our sports activities cannot be a success without your help and we hope that you will support the school and your child by:

Extra-curricular activities

• Making sure your child brings the right kit on the right day.

All pupils have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of after-school activities and Saturday morning clubs, including badminton, boxing, fencing, fitness training, rowing, squash and ultimate frisbee.

• Supporting your child when he or she is selected to compete in school fixtures. (School sport commitments take priority over club sport and if your child is selected to represent the school he or she will be expected to do so.)

As the school grows we plan to develop large team squads in a handful of sports so that we can play inter-school fixtures at two or three different levels within each year group. In hockey, for instance, we already have A, B and C teams so we can compete at every level with neighbouring schools. Future plans extend to overseas tours that will provide pupils with an unforgettable experience.

• Helping us run the after-school activities and clubs.

We also run inter-house competitions and encourage every pupil to represent their house in at least three sports per year. These competitions are run every term, culminating in a sports day during Trinity term to which all parents are invited.

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Supporting your child

• Respecting our ‘no note’ policy. We believe that if a child is fit for school, he or she is fit for sport. Many injuries or illnesses mean it is impossible to take a full and active part in some sports, but the teacher in charge will expect your child to change for the lesson and will find suitable activities for him or her to do, such as coaching, umpiring or refereeing.


STAFF WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

We are extremely proud of our staff. Each member makes a valuable contribution to the development of the school and they all share the desire to nurture and encourage a love of learning and a willingness to question and explore. Our team of staff is led by Mr Packer and Mr Naismith who joined the school in early 2011, bringing with them a wealth of experience in education. Thomas Packer Headmaster Thomas Packer brings with him many years of experience as a Headmaster and his strong leadership will help shape the development of the West London Free School. Before joining the school, Mr Packer was the Headmaster of Teesside High School, an independent co-educational, nonselective school catering for pupils aged 3-18. He was also Headmaster at Stover School in Devon and Deputy Head at Victoria College in Jersey. Mr Packer’s teaching career includes Head of Science at Downe House School for Girls and prior to that he was a Housemaster at Hereford Cathedral School. Mr Packer is a passionate musician, playing flute and percussion as well as conducting.

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Sam Naismith Deputy Headmaster Mr Naismith is a keen sportsman and, as well as assisting Mr Packer in the leadership of our school, his passion for and experience of sport is integral to our sports programme. Mr Naismith’s previous employer was Langley Park School for Boys, a comprehensive that has a national reputation for excellence in hockey and rugby. Mr Naismith was Director of Sport between 2002-2011 and prior to that he was Head of Year, combining this role with coaching the England under-18 hockey squad. Mr Naismith also taught at Wallington County Grammar School and Heysham High School, and in the independent sector at Stamford School in Lincolnshire.


GUE ESENIM EUGIATI ONULLA SUMSANDIT PRATIS ALIQUAM WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

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WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

environment e work hard have fun


GETTING INVOLVED WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

The West London Free School was set up by a group of parents and teachers who wanted to create the kind of school they would like their children to attend. We hope that all parents will share our vision and want to help shape the school. We know that an excellent education is dependent on a huge amount of hard work from pupils, staff and parents and we hope that you will be keen to take an active part in school life. The most important role you can play is in supporting your child. You can help the school by respecting our uniform policy, encouraging your child to complete homework on time and by engaging with your child’s teachers to ensure that consistent messages are given at home and at school. All parents have access to our virtual learning environment which will enable all parents to monitor their child’s progress and levels of attainment. We also welcome your support in other areas: Extra-curricular activities Our extra-curricular programme is only possible through the generosity of those who volunteer their time and expertise. We are always eager to hear from any parents who have particular skills or interests that would enhance our pupils’ experiences. Sport Sport plays a big part in school life and as we wait to move to our permanent site in 2013 we are dependent on links with other schools and clubs. Please help us build these links and run the after-school clubs so that pupils can enjoy as many sports as possible and be able to play competitively.

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Visiting speakers The West London Free School thrives on regular visitors from a wide range of professions – talking to pupils, giving lectures to different societies, etc. In the school’s first year, visiting speakers included Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Lord Adonis, Sir Tim Rice and David Ross. We hope you will be able to help with this, either as a speaker yourself or through your contacts. As the school develops, we will also welcome and encourage your involvement in our careers and work experience programmes. Parent Teacher Association Our PTA is an invaluable part of the school. It facilitates informal engagement between parents, staff and the Governing Body, as well as providing a forum to help coordinate all extra-curricular activities. Fundraising will always be essential. We are an inclusive school and want to be able to support children whose parents are unable to pay for extra-curricular activities so that all the children at the school are able to participate. Social events and fundraising are a great way of building a sense of community within a school and we hope all parents will join in as much as they can.


GENERAL INFORMATION WEST LONDON FREE SCHOOL PROSPECTUS

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us. We welcome visits and encourage parents to experience at first hand the school in action. Admissions

Shirt: White.

The West London Free School is open to all and is non-selective. Admissions are dealt with as part of the pan-London coordinated admission arrangements. Full details of the process and application forms are available on our website www.wlfs.org.

School Bag*: Navy with logo.

School meals We expect all pupils to eat our healthy and nutritious school meals. Unless your child is eligible for free school meals, these will be charged in line with other state secondary schools in Hammersmith and Fulham. Uniform Blazer*: Navy polyester blazer with silver flat braid around the lapel and school logo on pocket.

Coat: Plain navy, black or dark grey with no logos, patterns or branding of any kind. PE Kit*: White polo shirt with school logo; white shorts or skirt. Outdoor Games Kit*: Shirt (reversible); navy shorts or skirt; navy tracksuit (optional). If for religious or cultural reasons a pupil has to wear a head covering then this must be mid-grey or navy to match the uniform. Skirts must be no shorter than knee length. No make-up or nail varnish is permitted. We expect pupils to wear their uniform properly and with pride, including on the journey to and from school. Parents can help us enforce this by ensuring their child is dressed properly when they leave home in the morning.

Pullover*: Grey with navy trim. House Tie*: Navy tie with blue and silver stripes. Girl’s Skirt: Grey. Available through our uniform supplier or can be bought from high street retailers. Boy’s Trousers: Mid-grey, plain. Available through our uniform supplier or can be bought from high street retailers.

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* These items must be purchased from our uniform supplier. Billings & Edmonds 112 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London W4 1PU W www.billingsandedmonds.co.uk T 020 8742 0201 E chiswick@billingsandedmonds.co.uk


West London Free School Cambridge Grove Hammersmith London W6 0LB info@wlfs.org www.wlfs.org


WLFS Prospectus 2012