The flexi-school programme is aimed at bringing children back into school who have been out of mainstream education for a variety of reasons, especially as a response to the effects of the pandemic. 

In the 2021-22 academic year, we ran a trial to offer flexi-schooling for home-educated children.  We offered a range of subjects with a mix of in-person, online and live-streamed classes across all year groups from 7 to 11.  Our experience of bringing students onto our roll in Year 11 in January 2021, allowing them to get teacher-assessed grades in the absence of exams, encouraged us to enrol a trial cohort for the academic year 2021-2022.

You can read more about flexi schooling at cheney below.

We are not accepting any more applications for flexi-school 2022-2023.



Please be aware that we are only able to offer this with a requirement to be in school for at least some of the week. If parents think this is impossible, please do contact us; with appropriate supporting professional advice, we will try our best to come to an arrangement that works for everyone.

Flexi-schooling at Cheney is part of our inclusion work to offer a route back into education for children who have struggled with school for one reason or another. We want to help children get back to school through a gradual and flexible process, which takes as much account of the individual needs of the child as possible. The aim is to get children reintegrated into mainstream education, but we recognise that for some families, it will not be appropriate or in the best interests of the child to do more than a certain number of subjects, or to build up too quickly.

We expect students who come to us via flexi-schooling to have a degree of complexity. There are many reasons why a child may have been out of education, and we expect to discover more about individual needs after enrolment. We acknowledge that we are unlikely to have the full picture on the first day of school; enabling such children to have a route back into mainstream education is a fundamental aim of the programme, and as such we accept that we will need to remain professionally curious and flexible.


  • Education: to make lessons available to as many students as possible, free of charge on a flexible basis.
  • Re-engagement: we want to help children back into face-to-face education, and to build this up to a full timetable; this will remain a long-term ambition of the programme. We acknowledge, however, that families will come to this for a wide variety of reasons, and the provision that is in the best interests of the child will always come first, in consultation with families and other professionals as appropriate.
  • Local: we are an Oxford school, so this will be open to Oxfordshire students.
  • Safeguarding: we believe it is better for children to be visible: this will help families access other services and support if needed.
  • Exam centre: Cheney can also act as an exam centre for any UK exam series. We offer this to flexi-students on the same basis as all other students: Cheney will pay the fees for any exam on our curriculum (whether studied with us or elsewhere), but we will ask parents to pay the exam entry fee for any other exam. In this case, the administrative cost will be covered by Cheney.


  • We will not accept children who are currently enrolled at any other school. We very explicitly do not want the flexi-schooling offer to be something that encourages children to drop out of mainstream provision.
  • We will not use flexi-schooling as a way to bypass the normal admissions process. If parents want a full in-person place at Cheney, they need to apply via the normal admissions route. 
  • Before confirming any place on the flexi-schooling programme, we will consult with the admissions and attendance departments at Oxfordshire County Council to ensure that this offer is not encouraging children to leave full time education at another school.


  • In-person: we can integrate children into any in-person class. Students would need to wear uniform for in-person lessons. Parents choose which subjects their children will attend, and a personalised timetable is created from this starting point. Students need to commit to all the lessons for the chosen subjects, and a quiet designated place will be provided, usually in the library or in Learning Support if there are gaps between lessons.
  • Online classes: as a legacy in 2022-23 there are KS4 GCSE maths and science classes which are online. All flexi-students will need to be in school, in person, for at least some of the week, following their other courses, so a purely online offer is not possible. From September 2023, it is unlikely that there will be any online offering.
  • Age groups: we can integrate children into any year group, although experience suggests that older students manage better. If appropriate, we can look at doing classes a year either side of their chronological age, depending on timetabling constraints: a bigger age gap tends to cause problems. Currently, flexi-schooling is not available in Year 7, because this is the main transition point from primary to secondary, and Cheney is already admitting an extra class in response to the demographic bulge in the city.
  • Assessments and practical days: we will run assessments as appropriate throughout the year. Some of these may be under parental supervision at home, but we aim to make a flexi-student’s experience of assessment (and their preparation for public exams) as close to that of the rest of the year group as possible. Tests and exams are often areas of particular stress; early communication of likely problems will allow the SEND department and the exams access team to do the necessary investigations and come up with the best possible plan.
  • SEND: we will screen all flexi-students for the most common SEND using CAT4 or Lucid tests, depending on the year group. Any pre-existing information needs to be shared with the SEND department as early as possible, usually during the enrolment process. Parents or carers should not worry that a level of SEND need will disqualify a child from joining the flexi-school programme; Cheney is an inclusive school, and we run the flexi-programme precisely to enable all students to get access to education and services. Once on roll, students have exactly the same status as any other Cheney student, including support with EHCP applications, if that is appropriate.
  • Access to school facilities, activities and trips: flexi-students are actively encouraged to make use of all the opportunities available to other students. This includes clubs, trips and extra-curricular activities, such as DofE, drama, music, sport or MFL overseas trips. Applications for free school meals, if appropriate, also apply to flexi-school students.
  • Attendance: the same expectations of attendance apply to flexi-schoolers as to others, with the obvious exception that they are not expected in school when they have no timetabled lessons. In other words, we expect flexi-schoolers to be in all the lessons they have signed up for, and for parents to inform the attendance manager of absence, in the same way as any other student. The follow-up will be the same, as well: a text message on the first day of unexplained absence, and a home visit on day three.

Actions to be carried out prior to enrolling a child on the programme:

The flexi-school coordinator will lead on this process, with support as necessary from the DSL, Headteacher and PA to Headteacher.

Action Timeframe
Expressions of interest and initial conversations to establish what subjects a family is interested in, and whether Cheney can meet the need. March / April
Firm application, with basic contact information to allow planning May
Names and contact details shared with OCC EHE team and admissions team in order to ensure there is no possibility of circumventing the admissions system May
Timetabling June 
Offer of a place, and a draft timetable in the light of what Cheney can provide, before the end of the summer term June / July
On acceptance, signing of flexi-school agreement and filling in of school enrolment form July

Actions to be taken after agreement has been signed; children will not be refused on the grounds of safeguarding or mental health concerns. It is often these very children we most want to take, in order to provide them with better support.

Action Timeframe
Admission interview and tour July (if necessary on INSET in September)
Contact any named previous school for safeguarding files August / September
Share names with LADO to check for previous safeguarding concerns September
Mid-year review January / February

We have a 2 weekly timetable. Students can expect the following numbers of hours per fortnight for the following subjects:

Flexi-school hours