Mission, Ethos, and Aims
Cottesmore School is a boarding community that puts children first. Our Christian and family ethos enables us to enrich the lives of the young people in our care. Each child is cared for, valued, inspired, nurtured and educated to achieve personal excellence through the enhancement of their intellectual curiosity, academic achievement, physical development, imagination, creativity, and spirituality.
Cottesmore is a close, caring and very busy community. The staff common room is welcoming and supportive and all members of staff are expected to work very much as a team with the children as our central concern. We aim to value all members of staff, whatever their role at the school, and we welcome initiative and ideas for school improvement.
Staff at Cottesmore are generous in their support for each other, covering lessons and helping when colleagues are under pressure and this is something that we all very much appreciate about the school. We aim to create a happy and rewarding working environment. There is a strong tradition of close pastoral care and we aim to share good practice in all areas of our working lives.
Staff are expected to work hard and to maintain the highest possible professional standards. The hours are long (but so are the holidays!) and full-time staff play an important part in supervisory duties. Teaching, preparation and other duties can extend across weekends and so a high level of commitment is required. In return, Cottesmore can be a truly rewarding place to work. We try to ensure that the resources and working environment are second to none and we look to support each other so that all members of the school community get the most that they possibly can out of Cottesmore. We are fortunate to have excellent facilities and superb catering!
We want the children to be happy, to develop a sense of self; to contribute to their community and also the wider world. At Cottesmore, children experience a broad range of subjects and activities and should come to know what they enjoy and what they are good at the same time as appreciating the strengths of others. We celebrate all kinds of success and children can reach outstandingly high standards in music, drama, art, sports and academic areas. At the same time, our ethos is inclusive. All children are expected to play in matches for the school and participate in plays and almost all learn at least one instrument. We hope that all children will pursue an area of special interest at school. As the children move through Cottesmore, they become more independent in preparation for their next school. Boarding is an important part of each child’s personal development and the children appreciate the great benefits of boarding, especially in encouraging social development.
We aim to provide a traditional pre-prep and prep school education in the 21st Century – Traditional Values in a Modern World. People are the most important factor in a child’s education and Cottesmore’s teachers and support staff work together to ensure the best possible provision for every child. From lessons to sport; the creative arts to meals, our children benefit from the best there is. The children and parents speak very highly of the teachers. We are happy for our staff to be creative and use their own style, so long as they uphold the school’s ethos and carry out all their tasks appropriately.
Cottesmore has an outstanding academic record and sends children to a large number of senior schools, including the best public schools in the country. We are proud of our scholarship record and parents agree that the teaching and learning at Cottesmore is excellent. Teachers are expected to achieve the best possible results. We discuss children regularly and monitor them to ensure that they are reaching an appropriately high standard against their perceived potential.
Pastoral care is a top priority for all staff and the children benefit from several layers of tutoring and support at Cottesmore. There is an easy and open relationship between staff and children and a real sense of community. The children are happy, confident, co-operative and enthusiastic about life. We like to feel that we are all on the same side.
Special features of the school include its purpose-built Art, DT & IT facilities – The Sopwith Centre - Indoor Swimming Pool, Classroom Block and its extensive grounds which provide a magnificent resource for sports and range and are available for all the children from 4 to 13 years old. An annual General Knowledge quiz over the Christmas holiday involves all the children and their parents. Rewards such as Show-ups, the termly Set and Dorm Cups and special “Stay-ups” for children who have worked well in the Prep school and sticker charts and ‘Star of the Week’ in the Pre-Prep encourage the children positively. The atmosphere is busy and the school’s termly Fixture Card is packed with events to encourage participation. The children are encouraged to support charitable organisations by fund raising and personal giving. The yearly Swimarathon has raised thousands of pounds over the years. Each term children select a main charitable focus and money is raised for a variety of charitable causes throughout the year.
We hope that our pupils will be confident (not arrogant) and enthusiastic.
As a school we aim to:
- Provide an excellent all-round education both academically and through an impressive range of extra-curricular activities. There are opportunities for all and those who are especially talented can reach the highest levels of attainment.
- Develop in each child independence, commitment and enthusiasm.
- Foster a spirit of mutual respect and kindness and encourage everyone to do their best for the community.
- Encourage every child to participate fully in life and to learn about themselves and their place in the world.
Our Core Values are :
- Respect others and their property,
- Treat others as we would have them treat us,
- Be truthful and honest, especially about ourselves,
- Be kind and considerate to others,
- Care about others,
- Forgive others,
- Be patient with each other,
- Be friendly and welcoming,
- Listen carefully to each other,
- Not gossip, judge or criticise others,
- Work hard to be our best selves in all that we do.
Cottesmore is run very much as a family, with a natural balance between freedom and order, the needs of the individual and of the community. Within a warm and secure atmosphere, the children are encouraged to work hard and to play hard. A child rarely leaves Cottesmore without having excelled in some field. The Headmaster’s study has an ever open door to welcome children, parents and staff.
One of the greatest benefits of boarding school life, is the continuity of education that takes place both in and out of the classroom. The close integration between academic and extra-curricular studies, makes it possible to create a balance difficult to achieve in any other system. From the outset, we strive to sow the seeds of self-discipline within a framework of fair and sensible rules. For the Pre-prep children, the boarding community in the Prep School shows what a strong family atmosphere there is at Cottesmore and also gives the young children something to look forward to and aspire to when they reach Prep school age.
The old fashioned values of good manners, sportsmanship and courtesy are still very much a part of Cottesmore life. Most children tend to be naturally competitive, and properly channelled, this can provide excellent stimulus. Nevertheless, we feel it essential for each child in the school to recognise that we judge the effort they make against their own potential rather than that of their neighbours. We are convinced that competition should be an aid to motivation and not an end in itself.
A typical Cottesmore child is a happy, busy and confident young person who communicates effectively with others. He or she understands the importance of teamwork in a community.
At the end of their time at Cottesmore, the children are thoroughly prepared for the next stage of their lives. They are active, positive young people with a range of interests. Cottesmorians are well-educated in a broad sense. As teachers, we hope that the start that the pupils have had at Cottesmore academically, in the creative arts, through sports and in terms of confidence and personal development puts them in a strong position for future success in whatever terms suits them as an individual.
All teaching staff are expected to contribute to the all-round ethos of the school in a variety of ways so that the teachers’ own interests and talents can inspire the children. Any member of staff with a special interest or hobby is welcome to pursue this through the hobbies and activities programme and After School Clubs in the Pre-prep. It is hoped that many of the academic teaching staff will have a sporting interest that they can practise at school and we are happy to support coaching courses and other strands of professional development.