CCSS joins the Stephen Perse Foundation’s award-winning family of schools


CCSS and the Stephen Perse Foundation have today announced that CCSS has joined the Stephen Perse Foundation as one of its family of schools.

As part of the Foundation, CCSS will continue to operate as an independent college, offering GCSE, A-level and University Foundation courses whilst enjoying the advantages of being part of the wider campus of schools. Both organisations will benefit from the enhanced educational and strategic opportunities arising from the additional scale and wider reach of the enlarged group.

The Principal of CCSS, Stuart Nicholson, said: “There are many synergies in ethos and vision between our two organisations and the Stephen Perse group of schools will provide an excellent home for CCSS. Being part of a highly successful group of schools presents many new opportunities for CCSS and what we offer perfectly complements the education provided by other schools in the group – we are excited to see what the future brings.”

CCSS shares the Foundation’s vision of preparing young people for the globally interconnected world, a vision which Principal of the Foundation, Tricia Kelleher, says is shaped by Cambridge: “With an internationally top performing university cheek by jowl with the entrepreneurial power house of Silicon Fen, our young people have the privilege of growing up in a city which is pointing towards a very different future for them.

“Rather than just turning out young people who are highly-skilled at passing exams, we prepare young people to be independent thinkers in an ever-changing world. It’s a very different kind of education, where great results are a by-product, not our sole focus.”

The Foundation has a history of excellence in education in Cambridgeshire and Essex and has been the worthy recipient of awards and accolades which have acknowledged its outstanding leadership and strategic vision, including the TES Independent Schools Award for Outstanding Strategic Initiative. In 2008, the Foundation successfully set up a co-educational 6th Form College; in 2010 it acquired

Madingley Pre-Prep; in 2011 it established a City Pre-Prep in Cambridge; in 2013 it merged with Dame Bradbury’s School in Saffron Walden; and in 2014 introduced the diamond model co-educational community into its Junior School, followed by its Senior School in 2017.

What is the Stephen Perse Foundation?

Founded in 1881, the Stephen Perse Foundation has grown from the Cambridge-based Perse School for Girls to a highly acclaimed, award-winning family of independent schools operating in and around Cambridge, educating boys and girls aged 3 to 18.

With a focus on thinking and character development, the Foundation offers an innovative, broad academic and creative education in schools that remain small enough to ensure that every student is known.

The Stephen Perse Foundation offers both A Levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme at sixth-form and their students achieve outstanding results. Over the last 5 years, 68% of A Level grades have been A* or A, and 80% of IB grades have been Level 6 or 7. In 2014, the IB results of Stephen Perse students were the best in the world, and the Foundation has twice won the Sunday Times award for ‘International Baccalaureate School of the Year’ in the UK.

How are the Foundation and CCSS aligned?

The Stephen Perse Foundation’s vision of preparing young people for the globally interconnected world they will live in is shaped by Cambridge. With an internationally top performing university cheek-by-jowl with the entrepreneurial powerhouse of Silicon Fen, our young people have the privilege of growing up in a city which is pointing towards a very different future for them.

CCSS, acting as a beacon of education for young learners across the globe, as well as local students, equally embraces a global future and identity. Just as Cambridge is the Foundation’s campus, so too does CCSS encourage a spirit of curiosity about the city and its environs, promoting learning beyond that required by qualifications.

A priority for both institutions is placing the learner at the centre of their education. The CCSS ethos places an emphasis on each individual’s learning experience – its small scale enhancing this.

In a commercial market CCSS stands out as a charity; it shares SPF’s strong sense of the importance of public benefit and is keen to explore ways of making a meaningful difference in the community.

Last, but not least, the pioneering spirit which is the hallmark of the Foundation schools, was also integral to the establishment of CCSS in 1981. Its purpose was to offer a different type of preparation for university, outside of the traditional school framework, in the form of small teaching groups within a college environment.

Why is CCSS joining the Stephen Perse Foundation?

The Stephen Perse model of a group of schools brought together under one Foundation has been extremely successful. It ensures that while schools in the group can remain small and every student be individually known, each school has the educational and economic benefits of being part of a large Foundation. To maintain this success, the Foundation looks to the future to ensure that it continues to develop and offer an exceptional and relevant education, while managing the economic and political risks we all face in a changing world.

Similarly, in a competitive and fast evolving market, CCSS believes its best interests lie in being part of a larger organisation and group of schools.

There are many synergies between the vision of the two organisations and the merger presents strategic opportunities to both.

CCSS will continue to operate as a separate college, offering a sixth-form experience to a different cohort of pupils to the Stephen Perse 6th Form College, and allowing more students from across Cambridge and the globe to benefit from a Stephen Perse Foundation education in the future.

What will the educational experience be for CCSS and SPF students?

There is no intention to merge academic teaching at CCSS and the Stephen Perse 6th Form College but we are excited about the opportunities for collaboration that this venture will bring to students.

Lessons at CCSS and the Stephen Perse 6th Form College will remain separate and will be taught by teachers from each school. In addition to the excellent teaching provided at both colleges, CCSS is able to offer English language support for those who don’t meet the Stephen Perse 6th Form College’s IELTS requirements, giving greater academic attention to students who require it.

This means that for both CCSS and Stephen Perse students, there will be little, if any, day-to-day change in lessons and in the teachers who teach them.

However, education is about far more than the examined curriculum – we equip students with a breadth of skills and experiences. The larger, combined sixth-form student body will allow for an expansion of

the already successful extracurricular programmes, preparing students for their future and getting them ready to make their mark as active global citizens. It will also enable us to expand sporting, music, drama and other enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities, making the most of our fantastic facilities and those of Cambridge.

Where to look next:

  • To find out more about our A Level and GCSE courses, click here
  • We have possibly the best boarding in the UK – have a look at boarding at CCSS
  • Our student profiles give you an insight into what life is like for students at CCSS
  • If you’re interested in seeing which universities our students go to, click here.

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