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 September 2017

Music News Letter 

Click to view CSET Update letter September 2017 for Parents, Staff and Governors

Click to view a letter from Label 1 with information regarding the BBC2 Documentary Series they are producing.


Dear Parents and Carers,

I am delighted to introduce myself as the new Head teacher at The Castle School and to take this opportunity to welcome you back to the new school year.

Since my appointment at the end of last term I have visited the school several times and been very impressed by the atmosphere and especially by the warm welcome I have received from the whole school community.


The staff and students at Castle School worked incredibly hard last year amidst changes in the leadership. Led by Peter Smart (substantive Head teacher) during the first part of the year and then Will Roberts (CEO at CSET), they achieved some of the best results in the school’s history. Indeed, everyone associated with the school should be proud of what has been achieved here in the past few years. It is a privilege to be entrusted with the job of leading The Castle School and continuing this great work.

I will work tirelessly to ensure that the school continues to flourish and I am keen to build on the solid foundations already in place. This means that I will be redoubling efforts to ensure that the students’ attitudes to learning are impeccable.


Lower down the school we will be relaunching ‘Ready to Learn’ and expecting the children to rise to the challenge of being, focused, positive and ready to learn. Although the Sixth Form is slightly different, my expectations of the young people’s attitudes to learning remain the same. Likewise, just as I will have a sharp eye on the school uniform lower down the school, I expect our sixth formers to dress in a manner befitting attending a working environment and I would ask for your support in ensuring that your children adhere to the Sixth Form dress code.


If our students are to get the most from the fantastic education on offer here at The Castle School, it is vital that they attend and give their best. For this reason me and the team of staff will be focusing much attention on the attendance and punctuality of students and will be following up on attendance issues with a greater degree of rigour.  (Please see document attached).


The success of any school is reliant upon the extent to which it can work with the community and I will be reliant on the support of parents and carers to ensure that The Castle School can deliver an education worthy of your children. I look forward to meeting you in the coming months and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns or, better still, ideas for how Castle School can continue to improve.

Angie Browne




August 2017

GCSE RESULTS 2017: Castle School celebrates ten per cent jump in passing grades

STUDENTS at the Castle School in Thornbury are celebrating a monumental day in their education with a fantastic set of GCSE results. 

More than 76 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 4 – equivalent to a C grade or better – in English or Maths – an increase of 10 per cent on last year. 

Despite challenges being expected this year, with the introduction of the new grading system, harder exams and the removal of coursework, it does not seem to have had an impact on students’ achievements with more than 30 per cent of all grades awarded to 242 candidates sitting the exams equivalent to an A or A* grade. 

An impressive 42 students obtained at least eight grades that were A* or A, with the remarkable pair of Elizabeth Evans and Lizzie O’Brien obtaining an astounding A* in all 11 subjects.

Other high-achievers, who were not far behind, with 10 A* grades were Pfeiffer Georgi, Charlotte Laban, Katherine Usherwood, Laura Waterworth and Bethany Wong.

Lizzie, who will be studying A levels in maths, biology, chemistry and German at Castle School’s Sixth Form next year, said: “I can’t believe it! So much hard work has gone into this but these results are great. I’m so happy.”

Katie, who is also staying at Castle next year to study maths, further maths, physics and music, added: “I’m definitely surprised by some of my results. I expected to do ok but hadn’t anticipated this many A*s.”

Bethany, who was visibly shaking from shock said she was so ecstatic over her results, she was speechless and could not believe how well she had done.

Will Roberts, chief executive of the Castle School Education Trust and interim head teacher, said: “I am immensely proud of the continued success of all students at The Castle School.

“Our ethos of ‘Achievement for Everyone’ and high quality teaching enables our students to flourish and achieve their goals.

“Their achievements at GCSE can be attributed to their positive attitudes to learning and the support of their teachers and parents.

“I am delighted that so many students will continue to build on these pleasing results in our thriving sixth form, which secured excellent outcomes at A-level this year.”

The school continues to be one of the leaders in terms of success in South Gloucestershire, despite an unexpected change of leadership this year, with long-serving head teacher Peter Smart taking the reins as interim principal at Winterbourne International Academy which is being run in partnership by CSET and Olympus Education Trust.

With Mr Smart set to continue in his position at Winterbourne next year, the school have announced that Angie Browne will be taking over the interim headship from September.


A-level Excellence at Castle and Marlwood Sixth Form

The students in the joint Sixth Form at Castle and Marlwood schools have enjoyed great success in their A-levels this summer. Almost 80% of the entries achieved at least a C grade, and over 30% of the entries obtained an A or A* grade.

The highest achievers were Ben Baldwin with 4 A*grades , and Daniel Gadish and James Ling, who each obtained 3A* grades. Others who scored very highly included Elizabeth Evans, Callum Hattersley, Leif Moreau, Will Romain, Ben Liddington, Rebecca Hewitt, Naomi Crabb, Liv Chanelle, Simon Sheppard, Martha Turvey, Jaime Hampton, Chris Rowe, Ellie Bainbridge, Naomi Crabb and Mia Scarborough – all of whom achieved at least A*AA or better. 
In total, over 40 students obtained A grades in at least 2 of their 3 A-levels2 A grades.
Louise Davies, Head of the joint Sixth Form said,

“We are delighted with these results and the fantastic achievements of all our students. It’s not just about those with the very highest grades – we’re equally delighted for all those who have worked so hard, and met their individual targets at all levels of ability. As a result of this work, there are over 130 young people from our joint Sixth Form now preparing to head off to universities across the UK, and others heading into exciting apprenticeship and training opportunities.

This was the first year of revised national A-levels in some subjects, which were undoubtedly harder and which caused much uncertainty for teachers and students when we didn’t know what the new exams and standards would look like. It’s a testimony to the hard work put in by everyone at Castle and Marlwood that the results have been maintained at their consistently high levels even with these changes.

I’d like to thank all the teachers and parents for their support of these students. We have all enjoyed working with them, and wish them well as they move on to their exciting futures.“


July 2017

Please click to view the Start of term Sept 2017 Reminders for Years 7-11 and Tutor Group Rooms letter

Click here to view the End of Term Newsletter

Click here to view the Key Dates for school year 2017/18



June 2017

Consultation of changes to the School Day

Parent Governor Election Result


The result of the Parent Governor election was as follows:


Clare Trayler21 votes

Neil Vernon20 votes

Michael Swinford5 votes


I therefore declare Clare Trayler and Neil Vernon Parent Governors for the next four year term.


Yours sincerely


William Roberts

Interim Headteacher 



Newsletter June 2017

Parent Governor Vacancies

May 2017

Achievement Points - Information for Parents and Carers

Ready to Learn information for Parents and Carers and New Behaviour Policy - click on text to view

April 2017

Dear Parents

It has been a real pleasure over the last few weeks to meet the students, staff and parents of The Castle School in my capacity as Interim Headteacher. I was particularly keen to hear more about the many strengths of the school as well as areas that could be further improved, through informal discussions as well as structured meetings such as the School Council and the Parent Forum held last month. Over the last two weeks I have shared my findings with governors and staff, as well as with students in their assemblies.

We will seek to preserve and build upon the strengths of The Castle School which you have identified:

Learning: An excellent learning experience, based on the wide ranging skills and experience of our staff and their absolute commitment to providing the best education for every student.

Opportunities: A rich variety of opportunities within the curriculum and the extra-curricular programme catering for all ages and interests.

Community: A strong sense of community with excellent relationships between staff and students as well as links to the wider community around the school.

You have also identified areas for development which we are now actively working to address:

Premises: Our buildings are ageing and in need of significant refurbishment. We have now secured some capital funding from the Education Funding Agency through CSET and are planning the first phase of a rolling refurbishment programme starting this summer. I am optimistic that this will link in the medium term to a building programme at the school to replace some of our oldest buildings entirely.

Behaviour: Although the school is orderly, sometimes a minority of students are not ready to learn, and this can be frustrating for those around them. We are, therefore, planning to introduce an entirely new system for managing behaviour later in the summer term. We will provide much more information about this after Easter, but in order to train all staff in preparation for this major change we propose to hold an additional half-day of staff training, by finishing lessons at 12.25 pm on Wednesday 17th May. Normal school buses will, therefore, depart early. Year 11 & Year 13 examinations that afternoon will not be affected, and we will communicate separately the transport arrangements for students taking exams that afternoon. I apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have a significant problem with supervision of your child that afternoon, please contact Mr Welsh.

Lunchtimes: The catering facilities at the school are limited and the site offers limited spaces for students to go at lunchtime. We are, therefore, reviewing the format of the school day and lunchtime arrangements, and will provide more information about this after the Easter break.

I hope that these developments will meet with your approval. We are proud of the strong reputation of The Castle School; by reflecting on our practice and evolving the way in which we work, we can ensure that the school continues to provide an excellent education in the future.

As students commence their Easter holiday, I am conscious that many parents will be working through this period. Those students who are about to commence their final exams will also be continuing to study over the next two weeks, including attending revision workshops in school. Nevertheless, I hope that all families are able to enjoy a little time together as well! We look forward to seeing students on Monday 24th April for the start of the Summer Term.

Yours sincerely

Mr W Roberts

CEO, Castle School Education Trust & Interim Headteacher, The Castle School 


March 2017

February 2017

Letter from Interim Headteacher William Roberts 

Dear Parents/Carers

Over the last four weeks as Interim Headteacher I have had the privilege of meeting many staff and students, and experiencing first hand some of the fantastic educational opportunities that are available at The Castle School.  We have now reached the middle of the academic year, and are already beginning to plan ahead for next year.

As you may have heard in the media, schools throughout the country are having to make difficult decisions regarding their budgets.  The income that we receive from the government for each student has reduced in recent years, especially for Sixth Form students. At the same time, our costs are rising significantly, for example through increased national insurance contributions, local government pension costs, the apprentice levy, and an additional charge for all schools in South Gloucestershire to repay a deficit in the council’s education budget.  We had hoped that “national fairer funding” when introduced would relieve the mounting financial pressures, but the indicated increase for The Castle School is just 0.1%, despite us being located in one of the worst-funded authorities in the country under the current arrangements.

The financial position of Castle School Education Trust is currently secure, but we are having to take difficult decisions in order to maintain that position. Yesterday we initiated a consultation on staffing reductions, affecting some leadership and support staff posts at The Castle School and Marlwood School.  This will be a challenging time for those colleagues who are directly affected, as well as for teachers who work alongside them.

You may be aware that Castle and Marlwood have shared some Sixth Form courses in recent years, with some students travelling between sites in order to access courses.  We have decided that from September, all courses for the new Year 12 from both Castle and Marlwood schools will be co-located at our Gloucester Road site, which will enable us to continue providing very high quality sixth form teaching whilst reducing costs by ending the duplication of courses across two sites.

Over the last few weeks, staff and students have shared openly their views on the many strengths of The Castle School, and those areas in which we could improve further still.  I am also very keen to seek the views of parents in order to inform our plans for the future.  I am, therefore, inviting you to attend a Parents’ Forum on Tuesday 21st February.  Two sessions will be held in the Resource Centre, at 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm, each lasting for around an hour. 

Please look out for the latest edition of ‘CONTACT’ which will be available on our website following the break.

Yours sincerely

William Roberts

Interim Headteacher


Limited funds are available from the Thornbury Grammar School Foundation, at the discretion of the Trustees, for Educational Grants as follows:-

To promote the education (including social and physical training) of persons who are

(a) under the age of 25 years who are resident in the Parish of Thornbury, or
(b) who are attending, or have attended Marlwood School, Alveston.

If you feel you qualify under these categories and are in need of financial assistance, further information and application forms may be obtained from:-

Peggy Belbin

Tel: 01454 414203


January 2017

December 2016


The Term ends for students at 12.25 pm on FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER. Lunch will not be served. The school buses will depart at 12.30 pm. Please inform Mr Welsh at the school (with liaison responsibility for School Transport) if you need your child to be supervised until 3.25 pm, and we will make the necessary arrangements.

The Spring Term starts for students on WEDNESDAY 4 JANUARY 2017 at the normal time. Please note that Tuesday 3 January 2017 is an Inset Day and school is, therefore, closed to students.

Our annual CAROL SERVICE at ST MARY’S CHURCH will be held on MONDAY 12 DECEMBER at 7.00 pm. The retiring collection will be donated to Save the Childen. You are warmly welcome to this event, tickets are not required.

Our CHRISTMAS ACCESSORIES DAY is on WEDNESDAY 14 DECEMBER, when all students are invited to accessorise their uniforms for Christmas with hats, socks, scarves, hair accessories, antlers, Christmas jumpers, jewellery etc, providing they are wearing their school uniform. All students taking part should bring in £1 which will be donated to Save the Children. This falls on the day of our Christmas Dinner so we are all looking forward to a fun and festive day.

We recently welcomed Nicola Godsland, Higher Level Teaching Assistant, to the school, and welcomed back Beccy Wheeler, Humanities/BCH Teacher on her return from maternity leave.

At the end of this term we say goodbye to Sharon Fowler (Administrator), Bernie Walsh (DT technician), Phil Checketts (Maintenance), and Leanne Jennings (LSA); we wish them all the best for the future. We also send our best wishes to Sarah Cook, Assistant Headteacher, and Laura Catley-Wichard, PE Teacher as they begin their maternity leave.

In January we welcome Josh Cann, Cover Supervisor, and welcome back Meg Fletcher, Geography Teacher.

Thank you for your continued support. I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours sincerely

Mr P Smart


November 2016

Year 7 non uniform day - Castle Challenge - Wednesday 30th November

As part of the Castle Challenge / Autumn Fayre initiative, Year 7 students are invited to come into school on Wednesday 30th November in non-school uniform (appropriate casual attire). In exchange for this privilege, students need to bring in a suitable prize for the Autumn Fayre tombola, on the morning of 30th November. Prizes should be handed in to tutors at registration. NO ALCOHOL, please!!

On Friday 2nd December, the Fayre runs from 6 - 8pm.


As you will know, your child is hopefully participating in the Fayre in conjunction with Castle Challenge. Each tutor group should have drawn up a rota, allocating time-slots to individual students. Setting up of stalls begins at 5.30pm. When you are dropping off/picking up your child, please take some time to come in and have a look around. There are gift/craft gift stalls in the main hall, together with some superb cakes. Then see your Year 7 in the hall (wear earplugs!) to participate in their fundraising activities. This is a whole family event.

Don't forget to buy a £1 raffle ticket on the night (draw at 7:30) The prizes are: 
Cash prizes
£50 Boden Voucher
•Family pass to Berkeley Castle 
Family pass to Old Down Country Park 
Swim Passes for Thornbury Leisure Centre
Thornbury Golf Club Voucher

Looking forward to seeing you!

Gareth Davies
Castle Challenge Co-ordinator

On Friday 25th November, The Castle School will welcome a very special musical guest, Rich Cottell, to lead a one hour e-safety presentation to our year 7 students.

Apprenticeships and job opportunities

Here’s the latest update on the apprenticeships and opportunities that we have received from our Business Partners for our students. Please could you share this with your son/daughter if appropriate.

Renishaw, is holding their Open Day for apprenticeships on 14th December. 
Spark Skills fest – recruitment fair for the Digital Sector on 1st December
Wessex Water – Apprenticeships available
Reflections Academy – Open days for young people interested in Hairdressing 
QA Apprenticeships – specialising in IT


These, and others, are posted on our website…

Best wishes
Tess Wilkinson
Premium Partners for Schools


October 2016


Our Sixth Form Open Evening will take place this Thursday, 3rd November 2016. In order to prepare for our many visitors, school will finish at 2.25 pm, and will re-open at the usual time on Friday 4th November 2016.
Arrangements have been made for buses to collect at 2.25 pm, with the exception of Bus 6B, which will collect at 3.00 pm. If you wish your child to remain in school until the usual time of 3.25 pm (or until 3.00 pm for students catching Bus 6B), please contact Mr Welsh, Senior Teacher, at the school, with liaison responsibility for School Transport, and he will make the necessary arrangements for supervision. Email

Yours sincerely

Mr P Smart


Voice in a Million

We have a few spaces available for our Junior Singers trip to Wembley Arena in March. This trip is in order to take part in Voice In a Million, and involves singing in a massed choir of thousands, in order to raise awareness of fostering and adoption. The trip is open to all students in Years 7 - 9, and all who are attending will need to come along to Junior Singers in order to learn the songs.

If your child would like to join us, (whether or not they have been in Junior Singers to date) please ask them to see me as soon as possible to collect information and permission slips.

Kind regards,

Nicola Screen
Head of Music


September 2016





August 2016


The Castle School is celebrating another successful set of GCSE results with a quarter of all entries achieving an A* or A grade. English Baccalaureate results matched last years’ excellent results with 43% of students achieving A*-C grades in all five subject areas. Overall 65% of Year 11 students achieved 5A*-C or better including both English and Maths.

20 students obtained at least 9 grades that were A* or A.  The highest performer was Chantelle Richter, who obtained A* in each of her 11 GCSEs.  Hannah Hobbs and Izzie Hunter both obtained 8A* and 3A, Naomi Richter 7A* and Ellen O'Brien and Ben White-Horne both obtained 6A*.   Ben's performance included completing a GCSE in Computing one year early, scoring full marks in all aspects of the course.

Headteacher Peter Smart said; 'I am immensely proud of the continued success of all students at The Castle School.  Our ethos of ‘Achievement for Everyone’ and high quality teaching enables our students to flourish and achieve their goals.  Their achievements at GCSE can be attributed to their positive attitudes to learning and the support of their teachers and parents.  I am delighted that so many students will continue to build on these pleasing results in our thriving sixth form which secured excellent outcomes at A level this year.’




Castle School in Thornbury is celebrating another excellent year of A-level results, marked by a dramatic increase in the number of students obtaining the very highest grades and winning places at the most competitive universities.

Eighty-one per cent of all A-levels sat resulted in a grade of C or better  and 34 per cent of grades obtained the top A* or A grades. This latter figure is a 10 per cent increase from 2015.

This year 26 students obtained 3 A grades or better – this is twice as many as last year, and is nearly a fifth of the year group.  Amongst the highest achievers are Liam Riordan, who achieved A*A*A*A and is going to Durham to study maths, and Niall Dickin, who obtained  A*A*A* and is going to Southampton to study computer science.  Another three students have won places at Oxbridge – Henry Allen goes to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge to study engineering, with A*A*A*, while James Ashworth (Worcester College) and Dylan Evans (New College) both go to Oxford to study biological science with A*A*A* A  and  A*A*AA  respectively.

Headteacher Peter Smart said: “We are delighted with these results and the fantastic achievements of everyone. We hear a lot about the increasing difficulty of A-levels, so to see even more students obtaining these high grades  is a powerful statement about what goes on here. During their time at The Castle School Sixth Form the students have worked tremendously hard.  They have been guided through their studies by our committed teachers and highly supportive parents and families.

"I am hugely proud of The Castle School's tradition for achievement and academic success. These results will enable our students to access exciting opportunities in higher education and the workplace. I congratulate them all and offer my very best wishes for their bright futures.”


July 2016

Click to view the End of Term Newsletter from the Headteacher

Calendar of Events for Terms 1, 2 & 3 2016


Click to view the Year 13 Important Information for September return

Click to view the Year 6 Letter regarding arrangements for the first day of September term

Stem Newsletter Summer 2016

June 2016

May 2016



February 2016


Notes for those applying for work experience - click to view

Application Form Conference 2016 - click to view

Application Form for work experience 2016 - click to view

Please find below details for students in Years 11 and 12 interested in a career in medicine

Following several years of very successful educational programmes, North Bristol NHS Trust is again offering opportunities for pupils and students to find out more about a career in medicine.

In the past couple of years demand for some aspects of the course has greatly exceeded the opportunities available and I would be grateful if you would bear this in mind when reading the following pages. Both local Trusts have reduced the numbers of work experience students they are prepared to take because of pressures on occupational health services and on the general running of the hospitals. This makes it all the more important to target work experience at a wide number of pupils who will benefit most from the opportunity.

Pathways into Medicine Conference (aimed at Year 11 Pupils)

On Friday 24th June 2016 we will be holding a one-day conference here at Southmead, to which we invite all pupils who have a genuine interest in studying medicine. We will be discussing the varied work of doctors, the practicalities of applying to medical school, how doctors are trained, and hearing from doctors in different branches of medicine and at different stages of their training. There will be a chance to talk to doctors in smaller groups. The conference is aimed mainly at year 11 school pupils who will just have taken GCSE exams, but sixth formers, careers advisers and graduates interested in a career in medicine are also welcome.

There is a registration fee of £10 to cover administrative expenses, lunch, and refreshments; in cases of hardship we may be able to waive this fee. In case of emergency we need contact details for each student attending. A registration form is attached for anyone who might be interested. There are around 120 places which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Registration forms should be returned by Friday 10th June at the latest.

Work Observation Placements for potential medical students

For several years now we have offered 36 work observation placements in the early summer for school and college pupils. These placements are designed for pupils who are just finishing year 12 and are considering applying through UCAS to medical schools in Autumn 2016. Up to six of these places will be reserved for graduates considering mature entry to medicine.

The programme involves a four day allocation to observe the work of various departments within the hospital and the community. This will be based at the new Southmead hospital and involve exposure to outpatient clinics, ward rounds, the operating theatre and general practice. More importantly the allocations allow participants to meet medical students, doctors, and other members of the healthcare team to learn about what a career in medicine entails. These courses will be of little added value to pupils who have already attended GP surgeries and / or hospital outpatient clinics.

If offered a place, candidates must commit to attending all four days of their attachment and to attending the hospital beforehand for occupational health clearance, contract completion, and production of ID badges. No charge for this will be made, but graduate applicants may be asked to pay for CRB clearance. Applicants will need to make their own travel arrangements, including any visits to the General Practitioners’ surgeries.

Each applicant should complete a copy of the attached form and return it by Thursday 24th March 2016. Applicants must live, or go to school, in the catchment area of North Bristol NHS Trust, or have a significant other connection with the Trust. I have attached a page of notes explaining who will benefit from such work experience, and what criteria will be used to select participants, but ultimately assignment of places may involve an element of luck. We hope to inform successful candidates by the end of April, so that unsuccessful applicants can make other arrangements for gaining work experience.

With best wishes

Dr Ed Morris
Consultant Anaesthetist
Course Director, ‘Pathways into Medicine’


On Friday 4 March, the BBC will be broadcasting a live edition of “Any Questions?” from The Castle School.  A panel of national political figures will answer audience questions, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby.  The panel members will be announced around 10 days before the broadcast.  The programme is broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm, and is repeated on Saturday at 1:10pm.

If you would like to be part of the audience for this broadcast, free tickets are available from our Main School Receptionist at Park Road.  You will have to be in place no later than 7:15pm, ready for the live broadcast at 8pm.  Students age 14 or older are also welcome.

Yours sincerely

Andy Bethell
Deputy Headteacher


January 2016

BLOODHOUND ROCKET CAR EXPERIENCE - Wednesday, 10 February, 2016 - click to go to their website

When: Most weekdays from Wednesday 10th February to Friday 19th February 9am and 1pm start

Where: BLOODHOUND Technical Centre, Avonmouth, Bristol

Design, build and race your own rocket car as part in an exciting family workshop at the Bloodhound Technical Centre in Avonmouth, Bristol. The workshop is aimed at families with children from 6 years and upwards.  


Click to view the Ofsted's 'A Guide for Parents'


December 2015

Renishaw is now open to applications for our Apprenticeship schemes

Engineering Apprenticeships

Available in both Gloucestershire and Miskin South Wales.

There are 2 pathways –technical and manufacturing. You must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs including a B in Maths and Cs and above in Science and English. See the following link for more details:

Software Apprenticeships

Available in Gloucestershire and South Wales

This is a higher apprenticeship and you will need A levels with a minimum of 280UCAS points with at least one in either in Maths or Physics and a computer science related subject. It is important that you have a real interest in programming. The link for more details is:

Embedded Electronic Systems Design and Development Engineering Apprenticeship

Only available in Gloucestershire

If you are interested in both electronics and software then this unique apprenticeship could be for you. You will need 320 UCAS points with at least one A level in Maths or Physics and a second in Computer Science or Electronics or a Design related subject. The link for more detail is


From EDT – Engineering Development Trust

Read on to find out more about a fantastic opportunity for Year 10 students of a range of abilities, to help them understand the wide range of career opportunities available to them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).  

We have arranged a three day supervised Routes into STEM course in your area during February 2016 half term.  The deadline for Routes into STEM application is 4pm on 14th December 2015.

The locations for the three day Routes into STEM course are:

·         Day 1 – 9th February 2016 City of Bristol College

·         Day 2 – 10th February University Day venue TBC

·         Day 3 – 11th February 2016 GKN

Brief summary

Students will take part in some exciting hands on workshops; tour all of the facilities; meet with current students and role models; and currently be awarded with a nationally recognised Bronze level award from Industrial Cadets. This accreditation certifies that they have met the requirements to gain 20 hours industry work-experience and gives access to an online network which links students, teachers and employers to further career opportunities

If students receive free school meals they will be eligible to attend the course free of charge through our bursary scheme because they will automatically qualify!  We will just need written confirmation from the school with some supporting evidence that this is the case.  Equally, other students with limited means can apply for bursaries as set out in more detail below

Please complete the short application form and send it back to by 4pm on 14th December 2015.  Click here to download the application.

For more information please visit the Routes into STEM webpage to download the application form and poster:


Exciting Routes into STEM Opportunity in the Bristol area – FAQ’s!

So what is Routes into STEM?

Routes into STEM is a course that offers Year 10 students the chance to explore different apprenticeships and university courses, to understand the fantastic career opportunities and compare different routes into STEM. The courses are designed to help students make well informed decisions when choosing the next step in their education.

Who can apply?

Students in Year 10 who live in the surrounding areas of Bristol and are interested to know more about the rewarding and challenging careers Maths and Science subjects can lead to.

How can Routes into STEM help Year 10 students?

These specially designed courses will offer:

•        A 3-day experience during half term including exciting hands on STEM activities.

•        A chance to explore apprenticeship opportunities and compare them with traditional university studies.

•        A company visit to understand the fantastic career opportunities presented by studying a STEM subject.

·         Bronze level Industrial Cadet Award

•        A Routes into STEM workbook to take away, course supervisor, lunch and refreshments. 

Travel Arrangements

Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements each day to and from the different locations, but we usually encourage pupils to car share to fit around their parents’ work schedules.


We offer full or part bursaries to any student whose household income falls below £25,000. If your students wish to apply for a bursary they must make this clear when submitting their application via email and then post us the supporting documents (a completed bursary form and your evidence of income).  To download the forms you need, and understand how we’ll assess them click here.  We’re sorry, but if we do not receive the information within 10 days of their application, we won’t be able to consider your student for a bursary.

Cost of course

Once offered a place students will need to pay a course fee of £120 (if applicable).  The course fee includes:

·         £24 deposit which will either be returned after successful completion of the course or can be donated if desired. We charge this to ensure full attendance on the course.

·         £6 Accreditation fee for Industrial Cadets Bronze level. For more information about this valuable award inspired by Prince Charles please see

·         Lunch and other refreshments

·         Individual Careers Folder for use during the course and afterwards

·         The services of experienced Course Tutors

·         Student recruitment

·         All other materials, sessions and co-ordination

Payment is not required until we send an offer.

We are grateful to the venues for hosting their day free of charge.

For more information please contact Steve Ross or the Team on 01707 871505 or visit the Routes into STEM webpage on:

EDT – Engineering Development Trust
The Engineering Education Scheme - celebrating 30 years!


Dear Parents/Carers

I am writing with information about the end of this term and the start of the new year.


The Term ends for students at 12.25 pm on FRIDAY 18 DECEMBER. Lunch will not be served. The school buses will depart at 12.30 pm. Please inform Mr Welsh at the school (liaison responsibility for School Transport) if you need your child to be supervised until 3.25 pm, and we will make the necessary arrangements.

The Spring Term starts for students on MONDAY 4 JANUARY 2016 at the normal time.

Our annual CAROL SERVICE at ST MARY’S CHURCH will be held on MONDAY 14 DECEMBER at 7.00 pm. The retiring collection will be donated to our International Link Partner, Spurgeons Academy in Kenya.

You are warmly welcome to the above event, tickets are not required.

Our CHRISTMAS ACCESSORIES DAY is on WEDNESDAY 16 DECEMBER, when all students are invited to accessorise their uniforms for Christmas with hats, socks, scarves, hair accessories, antlers, Christmas jumpers, jewellery etc, providing they are wearing their school uniform. All students taking part should bring in £1 which will be donated to our International Link Partner, Spurgeons Academy in Kenya. This falls on the day of our Christmas Dinner so we are all looking forward to a fun and festive day.


As you may be aware, we have been reviewing our school uniform during the early part of this academic year.We have collected views from staff, parents and students (through the student council).I would like to thank all those who have participated and offered their views.

As a result, the Governors have taken the decision that the current sweatshirt and polo shirts with The Castle School crest should remain unchanged.

We do, however, think that there is a case to amend our current policy regarding trousers and skirts, so that there is clarity over the policy and more consistency in this area of our uniform. We are currently looking at options and we will let you know early in the new year. Any changes will not take effect before September 2016.


Monday 4 January
Start of Term 3
Year 9 Exam Week

Thursday 7 January
Year 8 Tutor Evening: 4.30 – 7.30 pm
Publication of November GCSE Results

Monday 11 January
Years 8 & 11 Progress Data published

Wednesday 13 January
Dry Ski session: evening

Thursday 14 January
Year 12 Subject Evening: 4.30 – 7.30 pm

Wednesday 20 January
Year 9 Options Evening: 7.00 pm
Dry Ski session: evening

Monday 25 January
Y12/13 Progress Data published

Thursday 28 January
Year 11 Parents’ Evening: 4.30 – 7.30 pm

Friday 29 January
Y10 Preparation for Working Life Mock Exam: P1

Monday 1 February
Y11 BTEC Gig evening

Thursday 4 February
Y9/10 Intermediate Maths Challenge

Friday 5 February
Staff Production of Jekyll & Hyde for Year 10
End of Term 3

Monday 15 February
Start of Term 4

We recently welcomed the following new staff to the school:

Phil Checketts: Estates Team
Lucy Thomas: Curriculum Admin Support
Rachelle Wittcomb: LSA
Rebecca Kenny: Exams Access Admin
Russell Summers: Sixth Form Student Support

At the end of this term we say goodbye to Kate McLeod, Science Teacher, we wish her all the best for the future.

Please can I remind parents/carers not to drive into the school car parks or use the entrances to the car parks when dropping off their children. This causes an obstruction and is a potential risk to the safety of our students.

Thank you for your continued support. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours sincerely

Mr P Smart

November 2015

Airbus applications for this year’s work experience are now open 

The online application process opens from 14th September until 6th December 2015, for our pre-identified Work Experience weeks in 2016. Unfortunately we will be unable to place any students applying after the closing date.

Please visit (selecting “Commitment to Education” then “Youth Engagement”) to read about our Work Experience opportunities and make an application.

The weeks available for 2016 are as follows;

  • ·        8th – 12th Feb
  • ·        21st – 24th Mar
  • ·        4th – 8th July
  • ·        18th – 22nd July
  • ·        22nd 26th Aug

If you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate in getting in touch with us via:

Best Regards,

Education Partnership Manager

Winston Churchill National Public Speaking Competition - Tuesday 17th November 6pm to 8pm Main Hall, Park Road

On Tuesday 17th November we will be hosting the Bristol heats of the ESU, Winston Churchill National Public Speaking Competition. The Castle School is entering two teams; each team member will take one of three roles – chairperson, speaker or questioner. This competition provides our students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge of topical issues, while enhancing their speech writing skills, their speaking and presentation skills and their ability to think analytically on their feet.

Our two teams will be speaking on the following topics;
1. We should not provide aid to countries that kill endangered animals.
2. Laughing gas is no laughing matter.

We will be competing against schools from across Bristol, including: Badminton, Colstons and Clifton College, however, we will not know what topics they will be discussing until the actual evening. If you would like to view more details on how the competition works please see the following website…/secondary-…/public-speaking-competition

The event will start at 6.00pm in the Main Hall and will end at approximately 8.00pm. All members of the public are welcome to attend and be part of the audience. At the end of each speech there is time for audience questions on the topics- so we would really welcome your input. Light refreshments will be available during the judges' deliberation time.

We welcome you to come along, support our teams and enjoy the debate.

Clio Corpe
Life Skills Co-ordinator


October 2015

STEM Interfaculty Half-term homework for Years 8 and 9

In order to not only promote the role of females in STEM but the importance that Scientific and Technological discoveries play in all our lives, and how studying the STEM subjects can make a difference to the world we live in, we are setting our first cross curricular STEM homework.

Maths, Science, DT and IT teachers will have told their students of the homework and students can choose whether they make their poster on a female mathematician, scientist, programmer, engineer etc..

Further details regarding the homework can be found on the Poster below. The Homework Help document contains some details of inspirational ground breaking females to research.  Click here to view.

There is also a competitive element - so be creative - and the winners will get a certificate (and a prize) and be invited to present their posters as part of Bristol Universitys 'Ada Lovelace Day Celebrations' at the University on 18th November as well as taking part in some exciting STEM workshops.

If you have any further questions then please feel free to email.

Auditions for this year's Christmas Dance Show at The Castle School. 
The auditions will be held on the 19th November and the show itself will take place on the 1st December.

The Castle School, Thornbury's photo.



The Castle school is delighted that Rachel Beddoes (Maths Teacher) has been awarded STEMNET Leader of the Year for her work in promoting Science, Technology, English and Maths.

Yesterday, Tuesday 6 October, Rachel and Head Teacher Peter Smart attended a prestigious award ceremony hosted by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, at the House of Lords in London.

This award recognises the absolute commitment, led by Rachel, of a huge number of our school community.

Both Peter Smart and Rachel would like to thank all of those involved in the many, many aspects of the work we undertake in this area.

"Rachel has found funding for many school STEM initiatives and even for her own position. Her colleagues say she has transformed STEM provision in her school which takes up a large number of local STEM opportunities – with every event this year oversubscribed by pupils. Rachel has engaged local business, found pupils work experience and has developed STEM engagement beyond the school and for students in the wider community."

Well done Rachel


September 2015

Premium Partners has just won the British Chamber of Commerce South West region award for the Education and Business partnership category.

The Chamber of Commerce says,

"This year we are introducing a category that recognises the partnership between education and business in order to develop the talents of our next generation. The award highlights the significance the Chamber Network and businesses place on preparing young people for the world of work.”

We will be in London in November to receive the award and to find out who the national winner will this space!

A massive thank you to all our Premium Partners who have given such huge support to our students and staff in the school.

Sarah MacIsaac
Business Development Coordinator 


Helpers at Open Evening

Click to view the Faculty Helper Information Guide

Click to view the Tour Guide Information Guide

Dear Parents / Carers

You will be aware that it is our annual Open Evening on Wednesday evening, and we are very grateful to the hundreds of students who have volunteered to be part of that evening, either as:

(a)Tour Guides

(b)Helpers in Faculty areas

These students will be issued with an information sheet about the evening. If your son / daughter is involved in either role, we have attached these information sheets for your interest.

Two key reminders:

1.Students should be in full school uniform please. Sixth Form students in smart casual clothing suitable for hosting special visitors to school. Please no jeans, heavily sloganised clothes or skimpy clothing.

2.Traffic is often very heavy at the end of the evening, when so many people depart at the same time. You may want to think of avoiding trying to bring a car into Park Road at that time, but if you do need to students will be told to wait at the bus stops for picking up.

Yours sincerely

A Bethell
Deputy Headteacher


Our annual Open Evening is on Wednesday 23 September 2015.  As in previous years, in order to prepare for the anticipated several hundred visitors, school will finish, for this occasion, at 2.25 pmOn this one occasion, Year 7 students will remain at Park Road for their Castle Challenge lesson and therefore will finish the day at the Park Road site

Arrangements have been made for the buses to collect at this time.  If you wish your child to remain in school until the usual time of 3.25 pm, please contact Mr Welsh, Senior Teacher, at the school, with liaison responsibility for School Transport, and he will make the necessary arrangements for supervision. 

School reopens at the usual time on Thursday 24 September 2015.  A reminder that we have our second INSET day on Friday 25 September 2015.

Our Sixth Form Open Evening is on Wednesday 4 November 2015.  School will close at the usual time of 3.25 pm on this day.


Renishaw are holding an evening for parents and students to come and find out about the opportunities for engineering and software apprenticeships in 2016. There will be an information talk as well as the opportunity to talk to apprentices who are presently in training and see around the new innovation centre at New Mills.

 Tickets can be booked for the evening from the link below




August 2015

GCSE Results Day

Students at The Castle School in Thornbury are celebrating another excellent year of GCSE results.  Over 80% of the 258 Year 11 students obtained at least 5 A*-C grades, with 71% including both English and Maths.  28% of all grades received were either A* or A. Another notable feature was that 44% of students obtained the full English Baccalaureate, obtaining A*-C  grades in all of the  Baccalaureate subjects – a result which is 20% above the 2014 average for schools in England.

29 students obtained at least 10 grades that were A* or A.  The highest performer was Helen Sun, who obtained A*in each of her 11 GCSEs.  Ellie Morrell and Olivia Wheeler both obtained 10A*, James Ling and Harriet Laban obtained 9A*.   There will be double celebrations in one family in Thornbury, as 16 year old twins Annie and Emma Beurchsgens obtained 16 A* or A grades between them.

 HeadteacherPeter Smart said, 'We are celebrating another great year of GCSE results.  The students have worked exceptionally hard and I am proud of their achievements at every level.  The results also reflect the commitment of parents, staff and governors, who work together to make sure that The Castle School continues as a successful and exciting place to learn.'

A'level Results Day

Another successful year for Castle School Sixth Form

Castle School has continued its tradition of strong A-level results for students of all abilities. 82% of results achieved in the Sixth Form were graded A*-C, a further improvement on last year’s excellent results. Of the just over 450 A-level entries 99% gained a pass, demonstrating the school’s commitment to achievement for everyone.

13 students achieved 3 A grades (or vocational qualification equivalent) or better, securing places at the country’s top universities. Sixth Form students will go on to study a diverse range of subjects including Dentistry, Law, Engineering and Medicine. A number of students also have apprenticeships in the local area lined up. Top performing student Stephen Lambert achieved 3 A* grades and an A grade and is heading to Cambridge University in the autumn to read French and Spanish.

Headteacher Peter Smart said, 'We are delighted for all our students who, through their hard work and the support of their teachers, have maintained the school's strong tradition for achievement and academic success. These results will enable our students to have the very best possible start within higher education and the workplace. I congratulate them all, and wish them every success for the future'. 


July 2015

Students in Years 8 – 11 start the new school year on Thursday 3 September. They will have an extended registration from 8:40am, which will include a Headteacher’s Assembly and receiving their new timetables. In case of worries packing their bag for the first day, please click on the link below for an outline of the timetable for that day.   Click to view the Letter.

Please click to view the Summer End of Term letter

Click to view the third STEM Newsletter


June 2015

Click to view a great video of the Go Kart project The Castle School,Thornbury did with Berkeley Vale Motors/Hyundai. Year 9 boys having fun and learning lots!

Click to view the Letter from CSET Chief Executive


Ofsted Section 8 Inspection Report

On 6 May 2015, The Castle School underwent an Ofsted monitoring inspection involving two HMI.  We are pleased to attach the letter that was published on the Ofsted website on 3 June 2015, summarising the outcomes of this visit.

The purpose of this 'Section 8' visit was to review the achievement of disadvantaged students in the school.  The inspection also focused on relevant aspects of the quality of leadership and management, including governance at the school.

We are pleased with the content of the report which highlights our absolute commitment to ensuring the same high level of achievement for disadvantaged students as of all others.  Many strengths of our practice are identified and it is noted that the hard work and dedication of staff at the school is having an impact on the outcomes for these students.  The report mentions some areas that need strengthening and these are already underway in being addressed.

We would like to thank you for your continued support of The Castle School.  We look forward to achieving even more together for the young people in our care.

Yours sincerely

Peter Smart              Chris White-Horne
Headteacher            Chair of Governors


The school has been awarded the Employability Chartermark, please click here to view the report.


This event runs for three days 8-10 July 2015 and replaces all lessons for Years 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Follow us on Twitter@CastleOppsDays or If you have any questions, contact

May 2015 

Election Fever Hits Castle School Report By Miss Harwood & The BBC School Report Team @bbccastleschool. Click to open.


There is currently a vacancy for a Parent Governor at the school. Please click to view the letter and application form.


December 2014                                                                                    

Information about the end of this term and the start of the new year. 


The Term ends for students at 12.30 pm on FRIDAY 19th DECEMBER.  Lunch will not be served. The school buses will depart at 12.30 pm.  Please inform Mr Welsh at the school (liaison responsibility for School Transport) if you need your child to be supervised until 3.30 pm, and we will make the necessary arrangements.

The Spring Term starts for students on MONDAY 5TH JANUARY 2015 at the normal time. 

Our CHRISTMAS MUSIC CONCERT is on THURSDAY 11TH DECEMBER at 7.00 pm in the Main Hall. I do hope you will be able to come and enjoy an evening of high-quality musical entertainment.  There is no charge for entry but any contributions at the end of the evening will be gratefully received. 

Our annual CAROL SERVICE atST MARY’S CHURCH will be held on MONDAY 15th DECEMBER at 7.00 pm.  The retiring collection will be donated to the Unicef Ebola Appeal.

You are warmly welcome to the above events, tickets are not required.

Our CHRISTMAS ACCESSORIES DAY is on WEDNESDAY 17TH DECEMBER, when all students are invited to accessorise their uniforms for Christmas with hats, socks, scarves, hair accessories, antlers, Christmas jumpers, jewellery etc, providing they are wearing their school uniform.  All students taking part should bring in £1 which will be donated to our International Link Partner, Spurgeons Academy in Kenya, and the Oxfam Ebola Crisis.   This falls on the day of our Christmas Dinner so we are all looking forward to a fun and festive day.


Monday 5th January

Start of Term 3

Thursday 8th January

Y8 Tutor Evening

Thursday 15th January

Year 12 Subject Evening

Weds 21st January

Y9 Options Evening

Thursday 29th January

Y11 Subject Evening

Tuesday 10th February

Y12/13 Parents for Learning Evening

Thursday 12th February

Year 9 Subject Evening

Friday 13th February

End of Term 3

Monday 23rd February

Start of Term 4


At the end of this term we say goodbye to Rob James, teacher of Business.

On 5th January we welcome the following new staff to the school:

Ø  Clare Manning, full-time teacher of Business

Ø  Ildiko Kerek, part-time teacher of Music

Ø  Rebecca Irving, full-time teacher of DT

Ø  Justine Barnes, Curriculum Support Assistant. 

We have also recently welcomed Claire Johnson as Finance/Clerical  Assistant.

Please can I remind parents/carers not to drive into the school car parks or use the entrances to the car parks when dropping off their children.  This causes an obstruction and is a potential risk to the safety of our students.

Thank you for your continued support.  I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours sincerely

Mr P Smart


November 2014

I am really pleased that The Castle School has been named as a top performing school (at GCSE and A level) in the recent Sunday Times 'Parent Power' rankings.

Click links below;

This is well deserved recognition of the hard work of our students, commitment of our staff and support of parents.

Peter Smart
Autumn Fayre
Many thanks to all of you who supported our annual Autumn Fayre.
It was wonderful to see so many of our students (over 400) involved in a host of different activities to raise monies for both their school and other charities.

Overall the students made over £1,500, which will be used to enhance school life in a variety of ways. Many thanks go to the Friends of Castle School for their help in organising this event. 
Parent Governor Election Result

The result of the Parent Governor election was as follows:
John Barrow 44 votes
Richard Crabtree 31 votes
Jonathan Dee 27 votes
Caroline Owen Jones 20 votes
I therefore declare John Barrow and Richard Crabtree elected
Parent Governors for the next four year term.
Yours sincerely
Peter Smart


October 2014

Strike Action Tuesday 14th October - School Open

Dear Parents/Carers

You may be aware that the unions representing school support staff have called for strike action on Tuesday, 14th October 2014 due to a pay dispute with the Local Government Employers. This is a national dispute over which this school has no direct influence.

I have given consideration to the anticipated impact of the strike action, including the associated health and safety implications, and am writing to inform you that The Castle School will remain open to all students on this day.

Yours sincerely

Mr P Smart


September 2014

Panache's farewell concert next week. They are hoping to continue playing in university holidays and still have 4 more bookings but they would like to do a concert to play the tunes they learned in Barbados and to say thank you to their parents, sponsors and supporters.



Introduction from the Chair of Governors

Dear Parent / Carer,

I am writing to introduce myself as the new Chair of Governors at The Castle School.  It's a privilege to take over at this exciting time, after another successful summer of exam results and with Mr Smart confirmed as our Headteacher.  On behalf of the school community I'd like to pay tribute to Stuart Hill, my predecessor as Chair of Governors, for his hard work and commitment to the school.  Stuart continues as a governor and as chair of the board of the Castle School Education Trust.


As with most school governors I am not an education professional.  I am a chartered aeronautical engineer and until earlier this year was the programme director for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft project, based in Munich.  Our two boys are in Years 8 and 10 so I have a strong personal interest in ensuring that The Castle School is the absolute best it can be.  


Your team of governors comes from a wide range of backgrounds.  Some of us are parents, others are from the local community and there are representatives from the school staff. We bring experience and skills from different walks of life but we all share the same commitment and passion to deliver the best possible quality, caring education.


The work of school governors tends to be behind the scenes and largely invisible to parents.  I plan to increase the profile of The Castle School governors across the school community, and improve awareness of what we are doing.  While your first port of call for any issue at school must remain with the teachers and staff, the governors are open to receive feedback from parents. You can contact me at or at school through Joy Irwin, PA to the Headteacher.


I look forward to working with the school community to build on last year's successes and make The Castle School an outstanding place for our children's education.


Best wishes,