Student support at Chipping Sodbury School


Our Aims 

  • To provide excellent communication between teachers, students, and parents
  • To create a structure that provides stable staffing, so that the people looking after your child do not change each year
  • To develop strong house identities and competition that emphasise our school and cooperative values
  • To provide a varied and engaging tutor programme and life curriculum to support your child's needs
  • To provide opportunities for your child to develop leadership skills
  • To include more opportunities for your child to benefit from mixing with students in different year groups, mimicking adult life

Your Child’s Tutor

Our commitment to you is that every student at CSS will have a full-time tutor. This will mean that your tutor is in school every day and will not change unless the member of staff leaves.

If your child is currently in or going into the sixth form, they too will have a full-time tutor, but will also benefit from a personal tutor (likely to be a part-time member of staff) who will meet with them regularly (once a cycle) to monitor their progress.

We operate a vertical house tutor system. The vertical groups are slightly smaller than a traditional “year tutor group”. They have between 4-7 students from each year group (years 7-11). The sixth form are not included, but are associated to the houses and come in from time to time.
You may wonder, why is this a good thing to do?

There are numerous schools who do this and the benefits that come from mixing and learning with other year groups are vast. We want students at Chipping Sodbury School to have these opportunities.

Our own experience, plus research from other schools recognises the following as the benefits of going vertical...

  • It creates a more cohesive and friendlier school community where students know and work with students from other years ("like a family")
  • Bullying is actually reduced, as older students see younger ones as members of their tutor group with whom they associate on a daily basis
  • There are Increased opportunities for students to develop their social skills through working with students of different ages, in preparation for adult life
  • It emphasises students as individuals, not just members of a large group
  • There are more opportunities for student leadership within the tutor group and house
  • There are easily accessible positive role models for younger students
  • Tutors develop a "whole school" experience that makes them a stronger tutor
  • Tutors can attend to small numbers of students at once, at critical times for them, e.g. new intake, option choices, work experience
  • It creates a greater sense of house identity and more opportunities for competition
  • It creates an even safer school where younger students feel a greater connection to older students and benefit from a wider care and guidance framework
  • Students support one another and understand the stages that they will go through as they move through the school, potentially increasing aspiration and motivation
  • There is a sharper focus on individual ambition and progress
  • There is a huge range of opportunities made available for the more able and their peers

Heads of House 

All students at Chipping Sodbury School have a Head of House  This person is responsible for ensuring your child makes progress and reaches their personal goals whilst at Chipping Sodbury School. The difference between a Head of House and a Year Head is the students they focus upon. Heads of House will be interested in the progress of every student within a house rather than year group. This will mean they focus on approximately 30 students in a year group rather than approximately 120. The additional benefit of this for you and your child is that this person will not change between Year 7 and year 11. This means they will really get to know you and your child and they can focus on your child at crucial times, for example when they move into GCSE/Options choices or in Year 7 when you are settling in.


Please note that at Chipping Sodbury School we put siblings into the same House (unless parents do not want this). This means that as a parent you will deal with the same Head of House for all of your children.  If your child is in the sixth form, they will be associated with their house and the Head of House will be available and interested in what they are doing but you will also have Ms Hilleard, Head of Sixth Form.


Academic mentoring is based on need, identified following reviews and/or through tutor/staff interactions. Students identified as likely to benefit from mentoring will be spoken to individually, parents are informed and are involved in the process and a suitable programme of regular sessions will be set up. These sessions are likely to run once a week for a period of time (6-10 weeks).


At CSS your child will mainly attend “house assemblies”, once a week except when we have important information that needs to be shared with them as a year group. The assemblies will be mainly delivered by your child's Head of House supported by a member of Senior Team. The assemblies will focus around the co-operative values and promote a growth mindset through aspiration, resilience and responsibility.  When they have year group assemblies, they will be delivered or co-ordinated by a member of Senior Team who is linked to your child’s year group.

Life Learning Lessons

At CSS each child has “life lessons” on their timetable. These lessons aim to complement their other subjects and provide a curriculum that has a very positive impact on all students’ behaviour and safety, that contributes very well to students’ academic achievement, their physical wellbeing, and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
The whole school will have their “life” lessons at the same time. This takes place on Wednesday Week 2 during period 1. The reason for this is so that your child's life lesson can be taught by a member of staff from their House team.  This teacher will deliver a life curriculum that is year specific and not only complements what they do in tutor time but also what is delivered to them during assemblies. Having a member of staff from their house team teach them allows them to build strong relationships with the other staff in their House and also with students in their particular year group.