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The purpose of our College system is to divide a large school into small, permanent, cross-sectional components that promote both learning and loyalty as well as a sense of belonging.

The Colleges are permanent, cross-sectional, family-like, co-curricular societies, led by a member of the School’s Senior Leadership Team. They will have a rich and regular rhythm of life throughout the year that lets students feel personally secure while the academic curriculum works to stretch their abilities.


The College system is an integral part of life at The Charles Dickens School and aims to provide a sense of cohesion, team work, competition and fun through a range of school based activities.


  • A greater sense of belonging to the School
  • A more aware, stable and involved school
  • A greater sense of community
  • Greater student involvement in the School
  • More opportunities for participation in inter-house competition and school events
  • Greater connection between year groups
  • Further motivation for academic and personal excellence
  • Opportunities for friendships outside of usual peer groups
  • Reflection of the ethos of the School by maintaining high standards

Every student and staff member at The Charles Dickens School is assigned to a College. The College structure creates competition, promotes good work and behaviour, encourages teamwork, provides opportunities to take on responsibilities and brings everyone in the School together. The College system runs alongside the Year Group structure, not instead of it.

The Charles Dickens School works to foster a sense of College pride and belonging. This is accomplished by creating College identities, building on the College colours and shields established a number of years ago.   The four Colleges, Cobham, Fort, Gower and Tavistock are all named after places where Charles Dickens lived. Students are assigned to a College on entry to the Charles Dickens School. This is done by the Admissions Officer. If a student already has a sibling within the School, then they are assigned to the same College. Then all other students are assigned. Every effort is made to ensure an equality of distribution by

  • Gender
  • Ability
  • Behaviour
  • AEN need
  • Gifted and Talent identification
  • Sporting Prowess

Each College is run by a member of the SLT and College Captain.

College events run throughout the year with CDS reward points being awarded for each event. The running total of CDS points, for each College, is regularly updated and portrayed through the College notice boards around the school, on the portal and the website.

Although there are many one off events students can take part in, day to day work and conduct can achieve points or in some cases have points deducted! Staff and students alike are encouraged to run any appropriate event/competition for the whole school or year group.