Situated at the edge of Cambridge’s city centre, CATS Cambridge is an international school with ambition. We aim to enable students from all over the world to realise their potential, fostering independence and pragmatism, to prepare them for their future as global citizens.
The college welcomes international students aged 14 to 18 rarely with less than fifty nationalities, frequently more. CATS Cambridge is a celebration of diversity. We believe that we all have much to learn from each other and that life can be enriched by encouraging the sharing of perspectives, while respecting the identities of others.
Cambridge is a fabulous place to live and learn. The location itself has enormous appeal to students and staff alike. CATS Cambridge’s purpose-built campus means that the college’s learning community benefits from access to world class, state-of-the-art teaching spaces, both in the “real” world and virtually. That said, the real draw is the college’s culture, its feel, its buzz.
“Our sole uniform requirements are an ID card and fully charged laptop.”
What I love about the CATS philosophy is the way that it is has been distilled down to four basic principles: Turn Up, Try Hard, Be Kind and Smile. In common with all schools, the college has a multitude of mandated policies, but at the core of all that happens at the college are those four principles.
At CATS, students are treated as young adults. Our sole uniform requirements are an ID card and fully charged laptop. There is an emphasis on independence with a safety net, this applies as much to our 14-year-olds as to those on our University Foundation Programme. The students are given real opportunities to practise “decision-making”; they have considerably more agency over how they invest their time and energy than is on offer at many more traditional settings. Help, support, and counsel are never far away, and when needed, intervention is quick and proactive.
The emphasis is always on progressing students towards becoming effective and enthusiastic life-long learners with a desire to contribute. We do this successfully both despite and because of our diversity. This is only possible because we have an outstanding team. It is the strength of my team that gives me confidence when I say that for international students, we are best for English, best for boarding, and best for university. I would love to introduce you to my whole team but there is not the space, so I offer just a few who are at the centre of our “best for…” strategy.
“The English examination that our top students take would bring many a native speaker out in a cold sweat.”
We have an exceptional English as a Second Language department. Our head of English, Mandy Greve, in common with most of her team, holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics. Mandy has lived and worked in both Spain and Denmark and has learned both languages. She has over three decades of experience teaching English. She now teaches it all the way through to the very highest level; the English examination that our top students take would bring many a native speaker out in a cold sweat.
Many of the students choose CATS because of its exceptional record of progression to the top UK universities. We have considerable experience and expertise in navigating the vagaries of the university admissions process for international students and the UKVI regulations. Our not-so-secret weapon is our higher education officer, Christine Rudd. Before joining CATS Cambridge, Christine worked for twenty years as admissions officer at Liverpool University, which is a long-standing member of the Russell Group.
She says: “I counsel each of my students individually because they all have their own academic abilities and dreams. I try to teach them to look through an admission officer’s eyes so that they know exactly what to include in their applications and why. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students’ dreams become reality”.
“The creation of a sense of belonging is everyone’s responsibility, from the principal to the youngest student, from teachers to cleaners.”
Boarding school must feel like a home from home, particularly so when home is in a different hemisphere. Creating a familial atmosphere is a critical success factor. The creation of a sense of belonging is everyone’s responsibility, from the principal to the youngest key stage 4 student, teachers to cleaners.
Boarding is the beating heart of the school. Our specialist boarding team is eclectic and international. It is led by Jim Todd, before joining CATS, Jim has variously been a fireman, run his own print and design company, and has played semi-professional football. As Jim is always keen to note, his team, “encourage students to shine to the best of their ability, inspiring students to take full advantage of the opportunities at the college and develop personal skills such as, wellbeing, organisation, confidence, independence, and teamwork”.
“The college’s history can be traced back to the 1950s as a family-owned tutorial college.”
The college’s history can be traced back to the 1950s as a family-owned tutorial college where the name CATS stood for, “Cambridge, Arts, Technology and Sciences” reflecting the location and priorities of our colleges based in the city of Cambridge. However, today our group is much broader. CATS now reflects a strong global network of independent boarding schools, international schools, an arts school, English language schools and a variety of summer programmes all with the common purpose of “inspiring the next generation of world shapers”. Being part of a group offers the opportunity to work with and learn from other schools.
“The cows’ horns are musical, they are tuned to the same notes as the bells of St Andrew’s church, five-minutes’ walk away.”
Now, no article about a school in Cambridge is complete without a mention of the Cambridge cows. Cambridge City is well-known for having pastures in its centre. The bovines that graze there are celebrated by the “Cows about Cambridge event”. CATS Cambridge has its very own cows. They are front and centre at the school, though resolutely stationary. They are musical, their horns are tuned to the same notes as the bells of St Andrew’s church, five-minutes’ walk from our campus. Most importantly, they are much loved by our students, staff and visitors. They certainly help to put the Cambridge in CATS Cambridge.