Castledon School

The Trust’s core aim is to ensure that we enhance the life chances of all the young people within the Trust to enable them to fulfil their potential and achieve the best possible outcomes.

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Castledon School is a special school and is proud to be part of Zenith Multi Academy Trust. We feel this places us in a unique position and will enable our students to benefit from our specialist internal approaches to learning, as well as expertise from colleagues within the Trust’s mainstream settings where this is appropriate. We cater for children and young people in Year 1-14 who have moderate learning difficulties. We recognise that this is a difficult term to define; our students have a wide range of needs but typically are learning at levels significantly behind their same-aged peers. Many of our students have needs in addition to their learning difficulties, such as Autism and/or ADHD, or have found mainstream school environments overwhelming. Our pupils may have speech, language and communication needs or may find managing their feelings challenging. We recognise the unique contribution that each and every one of our pupils makes to our school community and strive to help them achieve the very highest of aspirations.

Our School motto ‘Unlocking Potential’ tells you all you need to know about our vision for our pupils.

Most children and young people with learning difficulties can have their needs successfully met within local mainstream schools. Mainstream schools have access to a range of support and training which they can access to help them meet the needs of their pupils if this is required- we offer an Autism Outreach Service for local schools which is funded by the Local Authority. However, for some pupils, more specialist teaching approaches are needed to enable them to make progress with their learning and this is what we are able to offer.

At Castledon School, we provide smaller class sizes and higher teacher: pupil ratios than are typically found within mainstream school settings. This not only enables pupils to have more direct input from qualified teachers and support staff who are skilled and experienced in supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities(SEND), but can also help to address the difficulties faced by pupils who have sensory processing needs or heightened levels of anxiety.

Our classes are not strictly organised by the age of pupils as you would expect in a mainstream setting. Instead, pupils are grouped, wherever possible, with peers who are functioning at similar academic and social levels to them. This approach encourages pupils to learn from each other and also allows friendships to flourish. We believe that developing social skills, so that our young people feel part of our school community, is as important as making academic progress.

Our school is divided into 4 key phases: Primary, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and 6th Form (Key Stage 5). Each Phase is led by a member of the Senior Leadership Team who work collaboratively to ensure that the curriculum we provide our students with remains consistent and relevant for them throughout their time here.

Castledon operates using therapeutic models to support pupils' overall development. We are extremely lucky to have both a Speech and Language Therapy Consultant and an Occupational Therapy Consultant within our staff team. These colleagues work with class teachers across all three phases to help them to support pupils to overcome communication challenges and physical/sensory difficulties which may be acting as a barrier to learning.

We know that young people learn in a range of ways and that for all of our students to be successful, we need to offer an exciting and varied curriculum that is relevant to them and their future aspirations. Our curriculum pathways allow all of our pupils to benefit from swimming, off-site/community activities and forest school. In addition, we are proud of our creative arts program, which gives all students the opportunity to enjoy art, music and drama.

We believe that Castledon School and the students we teach, play an important role within our local community. Our students achieve exceptional outcomes and frequently defy the expectations of those who know them well. We want our pupils to leave Castledon School and secure employment wherever possible. Our Careers Team works tirelessly with our young people, their families and the local community to ensure we prepare pupils for the world of work, enabling them to achieve financial and social independence wherever possible.

We are incredibly proud of our school and our students and hope that this short introduction gives you an understanding of what our amazing school offers. However, we realise that nothing can beat seeing a school ‘in action’ to really understand what we do. We would therefore encourage you to watch our ‘Virtual Tour’ and then liaise with the Local Authority’s SEND Operations Service if you would like your child/young person to be considered for a place at Castledon.