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One school, one journey (newspaper article) 24th September 2019

Moving schools is often a stressful time for children. There are the pressures of the first time going through a new set of gates, being taught by new people with different methods and probably most of all – worries about making friends and fitting in. However, for pupils at a Bedford school there is the option to stay with the same school from age 4-16.

In 2016, Castle Lower School and Newnham Middle School merged into Castle Newnham School which today provides a continuous education through the school from reception right up until GCSEs.

One of the benefits of offering all-through compulsory education, Nik Maund, Vice Principal (Pastoral) of the school said: “Seeing children through the whole education journey without breaks and changes – it brings consistency.”

Last year saw the school’s first cohort of GCSE students start the qualification and in June they will be the first group at the school to sit their exams. So, who better to ask about the benefits than these pupils themselves?

Rohan, a pupil, said: “I am excited to see what Castle Newnham has to offer me for my GCSEs and I am confident with the options I have chosen. I feel proud and grateful to be here at Castle Newnham; being a positive role model for the younger years.”

“I am thankful for my teachers who push me to the best of my ability, which as a result encourages me to not only set an example for the younger years, but to work harder too.”, Bisola, another pupil, said.

Mr Maund added: “The school also has a culture of responsibility and trust. For example, pupils are allowed to keep their electronic devices with them on the proviso that they will not turn them on in school. Instances of use of devices during the school day are almost non-existent. Support and being a role model to younger years is a particular point of pride among the school’s pupils, with a culture which breeds the atmosphere for children to want to get the best out of their peers. This is evidenced by the school employing mixed-attainment teaching groups, which means pupils are not grouped together based on their supposed academic ability. This encourages them to support each other and ensures continually high expectations for all with no ceiling on attainment. Individual help with GCSE is always given when required.”