Welcome to Castle Newnham School. I'm very proud indeed to be the Principal of this lovely school in the heart of Bedford offering high-quality education and care for pupils from nursery up to age 16.
Our CORE values (community, opportunity, respect and excellence) underpin our work across our whole school and help guide us in serving our children and families. We firmly believe that school and home working together is key to providing a happy and successful learning environment at every stage and our staff are committed to this partnership.
Our younger children begin their journey on our South Site (Goldington Road) in either nursery or in one of 3 reception classes with the vast majority living within walking distance, adding to our sense of community. At the end of Year 4 our pupils move to our North Site where, still in their 3 classes, they are able to benefit from a combination of a class teacher who knows them socially and academically extremely well with the opportunity offered by access to specialist teaching and facilities on the secondary site. In Year 7, 3 classes become 5 and we welcome a number of pupils from other local primary schools who settle very quickly with us and become part of our 'family'.
Our curriculum is built around the content of the traditional academic subjects since we believe that WHAT pupils learn is as important as HOW they are taught and the outcomes they obtain. We are highly conscious that we are preparing future citizens who need to be well informed and confident of the part they have to play in contributing to their community and their wider world and our curriculum with its strong focus on traditional subjects does just that. Teaching is carefully planned to ensure that all pupils have access to exciting and interesting content and all can succeed in assessments and examinations to the best of their ability. We also value the effort that pupils themselves make and recognise this through a variety of awards and opportunities for praise.
Of equal importance are the very many opportunities our pupils have around the curriculum. We have a thriving programme of activities in sports, the creative arts and STEM as well as our highly reputed school shows and performing arts offer. Bedford Music Hub is part of our school community, as is Bedford Town Band and our pupils enjoy multiple opportunities to experience playing a musical instrument and singing or performing. Trips and visits near and far (including residential visits in both primary and secondary and to other countries in our secondary phase) are a big part of our offer and there is something for everyone, from the local theatre and museum visits to a bi-annual ski trip.
Those who visit our school invariably comment on the warmth of the atmosphere, the 'family feel' and strong relationships and we are very proud of this indeed. For our pupils to do their best they need to feel as happy and valued as possible and we believe strongly in caring for the individual alongside high expectations.
We very much hope that our website gives you a flavour of our wonderful school but we also welcome visitors in person, from those thinking of coming to work with us to those considering Castle Newnham for their children. A warm welcome to Castle Newnham from us all!
Vision & Values
Governors and staff will work together tirelessly to encourage and embody the concept of ‘traditional values, forward thinking and bright futures’ for every pupil.
Our vision is for a highly successful educational journey through which each of our pupils can flourish in a safe, happy and stimulating school community from age 3-16. We set and ensure high expectations of ourselves and of others as we strive to teach knowledge and inspire curiosity about the world. We encourage positive attitudes, contribution to community, resilience, creativity, integrity and kindness.
Our CORE Values
Our school values are determined through consultation and discussion, including at parental engagement groups, and we have agreed that the following values encompass those we will strive to embody through all aspects of our work:
We embed our values throughout our curriculum and our shared values underpin our values’ education programme across the school.
The DfE have published guidance on British Values and state that schools ‘have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’ Whilst schools have always been asked to respect these values, they ‘must now have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so’ (DfE, 2014)
At Castle Newnham School, we recognise that by living these values the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils can be enhanced and can also support our pupils in their transition to adult life by leaving school fully prepared for life in modern Britain. The British Values are reinforced regularly in our school and in the following ways:
Junior Leadership Committee
We trust children at Castle Newnham to help us make the decisions that shape our school and make it the way that they want it to be. Children from Year 1 to Year 6 engage with the democratic process to elect representatives onto our Junior Leadership Committee annually. Each class elects a representative. As a continuation in developing democracy, our Junior Leadership Committee then elect a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. This continues as pupils enter secondary education. In secondary two class representatives are elected from each tutor group and there meet fortnightly for Junior Leadership Committee or specific sub committee meetings e.g. the Equality Committee. There are also representatives on the Sports Council and Arts Council.
The pupils who make up the Junior Leadership Committee are an important part of our leadership team and we trust them to ensure that the views of all Castle Newnham children are taken into account. We have a dedicated member of the Senior Leadership Team who is their contact, whom they can speak to regularly. They meet fortnightly to discuss issues raised during class discussions and to decide how we are going to help to move things forward, often taking thoughts and ideas to a vote. It is the responsibility of each representative to ensure that they express both their own views and the views of all the other pupils they represent. These skills are developed in the fortnightly school council sessions.
Each year group within our school also has members on the Eco Committee who are elected as per the School Council process. The Eco committee is an ideal opportunity for our pupils to get more involved in the way Castle Newnham is run and help it to be environmentally friendly.
Frequently, through the year, a variety of members of staff spend time with pupils to hear their thoughts, ideas and opinions on certain subjects. This may be linked with one particular topic such as ‘school lunches’ or have a wider feel. We use the pupils’ comments to inform us about actions we may need to take as a result.
Annually, we encourage representatives from our Junior Leadership Committee to attend the Bedford Borough Council ‘Pupil Voice Conference.’ This gives children from our school the opportunity to talk about issues that are pertinent to them about our local area.
Our Personal Development programme heavily supports democracy with such topics as ‘rules, rights and responsibilities’ in which children are encouraged to discuss, listen to others’ voices and make decisions. British values are referred to throughout the curriculum and are embedded into our teaching.
In Year 6 the pupils are offered the opportunity to put themselves forward for the role of house captain. In Year 11 pupils have the opportunity to become house captains.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country and reinforced at Castle Newnham.
From an early age, the pupils at Castle Newnham School are taught about our high expectations; in the classroom, on the playground and in the local community. This is accomplished through age appropriate ‘class rules’ which are on display in every classroom and through regular assemblies. In addition, through discussion (as a whole class, in small groups and on a one to one basis) pupils are given the opportunity to understand the value and reasons behind rules and laws, including those in our own behaviour policy.
We believe that it is important that pupils are taught the reasons behind laws and the consequences if they are broken and apply this to our behaviour system if required. Within our school curriculum, we also provide opportunities for the Fire Service and Police to work alongside our children at school to reinforce this message wherever possible.
Within our school, pupils are actively encouraged to make their own choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment to do so. As a school we feel very proud that we offer numerous opportunities for pupils to exercise their own freedoms, for instance, through choice of participation in a wealthy range of extra curricular activities, via class councils and our Personal Development curriculum.Through our e-safety lessons, children learn how to use the internet securely and safely for individualized learning and work set for each year group. The school promotes Anti-bullying Week each year to encourage awareness of how to prevent bullying and promote a positive and inclusive environment within school and the wider world. Each year there is a different focus to promote individual and collective action to stop bullying.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values and is also one of our own school values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. Each member of our school community including pupils and staff treat each other with respect and values each other’s contributions.
Faiths and beliefs
Castle Newnham is a diverse school. Throughout our curriculum and school ethos, we celebrate all different faiths and cultures. Staff aim to enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different cultures, faiths and beliefs through a host of cross curricular learning.