English and Mathematics are important, but we do not go down the road taken by some schools in recent years of pursuing literacy and numeracy to the exclusion of almost everything else.
All children have daily Mathematics and English lessons. The knowledge, skills and understanding gained in these lessons is then used and applied across a broad and balanced, curriculum with a creative edge, rooted in the widely acclaimed Cornerstones Primary Curriculum Project, introduced to Castle House in September 2017.
Cornerstones provides for comprehensive coverage of all subjects and further supports the school’s aim in securing the best outcomes, both academic and personal, for all pupils.
In addition, for pupils in Year 4 upwards the school operates an 11+ plus after school club, staffed by our Year 5 teacher, who is also an experienced 11+ tutor.
In Year 5, the key preparation time for entrance examinations to our two local grammar schools, to local and more distant grammar, public, private and independent schools, the requirements of these examinations are also woven seamlessly into the curriculum.
Music is practical and offers opportunities to play all kinds of percussion, to compose and to sing. There is a school orchestra and a school choir. The latter is renowned locally for its quality and frequently invited to perform at Civic events. Lessons are available for a variety of instruments from visiting peripatetic music teachers.
Religious Education and assemblies are mainly Christian in approach, in accordance with the school’s tradition, but pupils also have opportunities learn about other faiths and traditions.
PE is a strength of the school. Wherever possible children are given a physical education lesson every day. There are specialist teachers for swimming, which is taught weekly throughout the school, dance and gymnastics. All children also have general PE skills and games lessons. In January a revised timetable will allow for daily enrichment sessions, which are planned to include an increasingly wide range of sports and other activities.
The networked computer suite is used both for specific lessons in ICT skills and to use software in other curricular subjects.
There are also computers in the classrooms.
Art and Design Technology give all pupils the chance for practical, creative work, with end-products of which they can be justly proud. Much attractive artwork by pupils is displayed around the school.
French is taught throughout the school with many practical activities, games and songs – an emphasis on learning through having fun.
The extra length of our school day enables us to fit everything in without sacrificing any of the time needed to devote to academic subjects.
Castle House School is unique in offering all children the opportunity to learn outside in our wonderful Forest School.
Under careful supervision, Forest School takes place in all weathers. Children are taught to keep themselves safe by taking manageable risks, they are encouraged to ask questions and to explore their environment whilst taking responsibility and being valued as part of the Forest School experience. These sessions provide a healthy break from the structure of school life and help children develop confidence and broaden learning.
Children have PE and sports opportunities every day.
Our PE and Games programme teaches the children fitness and skills in many aspects of sport. The aim is to give them at least a taste of as many sports activities as possible, to prepare them for whatever they might take up at senior school.
In a week most children will have two lessons of PE, one of Games and one of Swimming (in a heated indoor pool) with our own specialist teachers.
In addition, there are after-school sports clubs and various school team practices. Children regularly win badges, certificates and awards in many sports. Teams regularly compete against other schools and take part in regional and national competitions organized by the Independent Schools’ Association. They are taught to be sporting, fair and gracious, whether they win or lose. Football, netball, cricket, tag-rugby and rounders are the main team games played.
The school regularly enters teams in cross-country, chess, swimming and gymnastics competitions and has had a great deal of success.
Other sports enjoyed by the children at school include athletics, badminton, hockey and tennis.
The school currently has a particular strength in schools’ gymnastics and has won many competitions.
Clubs and Enrichment
Each term the school has a rich programme of lunch time and after-school activities.
Lunch time and after-school clubs are taken by the teachers and support staff, for varying lengths of time, during the lunch break and in the hour or so after school finishes. Different activities are provided for each age group.
These activities, which currently include gymnastics, netball, tag rugby, multi- sports, book worms, science, ICT and board games allow children and teachers to cooperate outside the classroom and children from different classes to mix. The range of clubs available to children is published termly.
From January 2018 revisions to timings within the school day will see the addition of daily enrichment sessions to the wide range of clubs already on offer.
Learning support at Castle House School
Here at Castle House School, the Learning Support Team work tirelessly to offer every pupil the best opportunities to progress. They work within class alongside our teaching staff, with small focus groups and one-to-one to deliver a programme of study tailored to each child’s level of needs.
Up-to-date training , combined with years of experience, mean that each of our Learning Support Specialists can identify opportunities to push your child on to achieve their very best. When working alongside our Learning Support Team we encourage all of our pupils to see our guidance and support as an opportunity to improve themselves and achieve their very best.
What do our Learning Support Team do?
The Learning Support Team has many roles within our school including:
- Supporting Teachers in the delivery of our high quality curriculum.
- Delivering targeted interventions to meet the needs of all our learners – From specific learning difficulties, to those who are Gifted & Talented.
- Providing educational, social and emotional support to all of our learners.
- Working with small groups or individuals to address specific learning needs.
- Coordinating our Peer Mentors and Paired Reading Scheme.
- Leading After-school Clubs
Meet the Learning Support Team
Mr Gavin Hill
Special Educational Needs Coordinator
With almost 20 years working within primary education, our Learning Support Team is led by Mr Hill within the role of Special Educational Needs Coordinator or SENCo.
Now entering his fourth year in the role of SENCo, he coordinates the Team to ensure the right staff are supporting where they can deliver the greatest of impact. He also works alongside the teaching staff, advising them on how they can tailor their teaching to enable every learner to experience success and progress.
Where specific learning difficulties are suspected or identified, Mr Hill liaises with professionals to ensure our pupils are correctly assessed so that their individual needs can be catered for. He believes every child can succeed regardless of any difficulties they face.
Mrs Elizabeth Butler
Head of Pastoral Care & Designated Safeguarding Lead
Here at Castle House School, we look to meet our pupils’ every need and this includes their mental health and wellbeing too. Mrs Elizabeth Butler has worked tirelessly over her 11 years to nurture and support across the whole school, where she has supported children with a range of educational needs including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and ASD amongst many others.
Alongside her work as a Designated Safeguarding Lead, she is currently supporting within lessons in Years 2, 3 and 4. Mrs Butler also has a guiding hand within the schools PSHE offer and works alongside Mr Hill, the other teaching staff and parents to identify and support any child who is in need of emotional guidance or support.
As a trained Counsellor, She works with children on a 1:1 in a child-centred counselling process, to identify and support emotional issues that have impact on our pupil’s lives in or outside of school. Mrs Butler has a dedicated private room for this purpose, where confidentiality is assured. She also trains and leads our team of Peer Mentors who provide emotional support to their fellow pupils.
Mrs Jenny Butler
English Learning Support Specialist
Mrs Jenny Butler leads our English and Literacy support programmes. With over 8 years experience working within primary education, from Early Years all the way through to Upper Key Stage 2, she has a strong working knowledge of 2014 National Curriculum and age-related expectations; particularly those of year 5 & 6 children.
She has repeatedly organised and delivered specific literacy and numeracy booster and intervention groups across KS2 where she has been responsible for their preparation, delivery and assessment of their results. She supports across Upper Key Stage 2 in class lessons and works alongside class teachers offering her informed opinion on where support is needed or has had an impact on learning.
On top of all that, she has considerable experience working with children with various educational needs including those with: Downs Syndrome (included knowledge & use of Makaton), Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Dyspraxia, Visual Impairment, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, plus children with other specific learning difficulties to promote inclusion and acceptance.
Mrs Jo Mellor
Maths Learning Support Specialist.
Leading our Maths interventions, Mrs Jo Mellor has been here at Castle House School for the last two years. Drawing upon over 20 years of working in finance and banking, Mrs Mellor leads intervention groups focussed on increasing confidence within mathematics.
Mrs Mellor also supports in classes across the school, where she helps our pupils to achieve their very best each and every day. Whilst new to working within primary, she is keen to develop her skills and use her confidence within mathematics to benefit the learners here at Castle House School.
Miss Kristie Cotterill
Early Years Learning Support Specialist.
Working within our kindergarten and Year 1 Class, Miss Cotterill supports our youngest learners as they begin on their Castle House Journey. She leads daily phonics sessions and guides the children in developing early English and mathematics skills in a fun and engaging way; this combined with patience and encouragement instils a love of lifelong learning right from the very start.
Should you require more information regarding our SEND provision, please do not hesitate to contact the school.