Information for students and parents in relation to Health Related Fitness Assessment (formerly called the Sports Aptitude Test) used at CWS.

There is a significant difference between playing sport (whether competitively or recreationally), liking sport and having a highly ranked ‘aptitude’ for Health Related Fitness (HRF). We must not confuse the ability to take part in activities linked to HRF, or to succeed in sport with the potential for someone to take advantage of the sports facilities at Coombe Wood School. The School is there for all children of all abilities although through the HRF Assessment it hopes to identify 10% of its Pupil Admission Number (PAN) who will take advantage of the School’s facilities and ethos.

The School defines HRF as the ability to reach your personal best in activities that will allow you to develop and enhance your well-being. This can be linked to activities such as the playing of sport and also in other essential life choices linked to health and well-being.

What is a Health Related Assessment?

The HRF Assessment is designed to act as a mechanism to select up to 18 students for entry into Coombe Wood School and is unrelated to any one particular sport. It does not ask children to score goals in football, shoot hoops in basketball or perform a complicated manoeuvre in gymnastics. Instead it uses three simple but effective assessments of athleticism to triangulate a single score which can be ranked. The three assessments assess three key drivers which help predict a child’s potential to achieve well in Health Related Fitness. These three drivers are speed, power and reactive strength.

What happens at a Health Related Assessment?

The assessment day itself does not include any interview, discussion about previous sporting achievements or ask for any proof of preferred sporting disciplines. Numbers are used to help identify children during the assessment as names are irrelevant to the process. The only dialogue during the day is instruction so the children feel comfortable and happy in performing the three assessments and in conducting an effective warm up. There is no requirement to bring any additional equipment or specialist kit. Children are asked simply to wear clothes typical of that worn in exercise and to bring a bottle of water. Sugar enhanced sports drinks are not encouraged.

Why do you have a Health Related Assessment?

The rationale behind using the assessment as part of the School’s Admission Arrangements is to ensure children who may live outside of any perceived catchment area can still have an opportunity to be offered a place at the School. This is why within the over subscription criteria the HRF Aptitude assessment is placed seventh. To maximise the impact that the School has on the local community, places for children on EHCPs, who are LAC, randomly selected from Feeder Schools, who are siblings, who are children of staff or who live closest to the School are offered places first. Those categories just mentioned will total 162 out of the 180 places available. This means that 18 places are ring fenced for children who rank highest in the aptitude rank order list.

Are those who are offered a place via the Health Related Assessment criteria treated differently from the rest of the students?

Those children offered and who accept a place based upon the sporting aptitude are monitored as such but do not represent a closed group of students. All children are monitored for their participation in school sport and the progress they make within Health Related Fitness. 

How do you rank the applicants?

When children take the assessment the vast majority range between 10 and 11 years old. That being the case there are several variables which are important to recognise. Gender and Maturity are both essential to acknowledge and so the assessment uses an algorithm created by an independent Sport Science group (University of Surrey) which nullifies maturation rate. This means that following the assessment and the calculated score of athleticism a tall 11 year old girl has no advantage or disadvantage over a shorter 10 year old boy. By measuring weight, standing height and seated height a calculation is made to assess the rate of maturation and include this in the algorithm which allows a ‘T Score’ of athleticism to be ranked.

What happens after the assessment?

Following the assessment all those children who attend receive a letter thanking them for their commitment and for taking part in the assessment. The letter praises them for showing a positive aptitude but the letter itself does not constitute an offer of a place, it just means that the child is eligible to be considered for a place under the Health Related Assessment criteria.

What does 'eligible to be considered for a place' mean?

This means that if your child is not offered a place under all other admissions criteria for Coombe Wood School then you may be considered for the Health Related Assessment criteria i.e. one of the 18 places available if your child is ranked highly.

Why does everyone get a positive letter?

The reason that all children receive a positive response is because there is no pass or fail. It is not a test of ability and so by turning up all children have demonstrated a positive aptitude. It is not meant to be misleading but does not wish to label a child who attends the assessment as having no aptitude for sport. The letter contains no ranked score so not to demotivate any child who shows a lower ranked aptitude.

I already have a child who attends Coombe Wood School, does my second child need to do the assessment?

No, if you already have a child that attends Coombe Wood School, there is no need for your subsequent children to perform the test.  You will qualify for admission under the sibling admission criterion which is higher than the Health Related Assessment.

If you would like to apply for a place on the Health Related Fitness Assessment, full details and the online form is available here.