New era at Court Fields

This is The West Country: New era at Court Fields New era at Court Fields

THE head of Court Fields School believes next week’s conversion into an academy will mark the start of an “exciting” new era.

On January 1, the school will become a part of The Castle Partnership Trust, working with The Castle School, in Taunton.

The conversion comes as Court Fields receives a £100,000 cash windfall, which could see the creation of an outdoor space and revamped facilities.

Head of school Rachael Bennett said: “We have been working with the Trust since September and we have already made quite a few changes. I think this is a really exciting time for the school.

“We’ve got a very clear direction and we know exactly where we are going.”

Staff sharing and more freedom are some of the benefits of becoming an academy, as the school will be independent from the local authority.

Leaders are looking at freshening up the curriculum and buildings – such as the hall, canteen and toilets – with cash from the environmental improvement grant.

It is part of a plan to continue the school’s steady improvement, which climbed out of special measures in October, 11 months after being rated ‘inadequate’ by OFSTED.

Ms Bennett said: “We’re consulting on a lot of things, including the uniform and the curriculum.

“We’re getting parents and students involved in that process because it’s their school. We want them to be happy to come here and to be proud to wear the uniform.

“It’s about doing things that will bring the changes to make sure we get a ‘good’ rating from OFSTED during the next inspection.”

Sarah Watson, head teacher at The Castle School, will become executive head and oversee both schools, while Ms Bennett will remain in charge of the day-to-day running of Court Fields.

Ms Watson said: “We are delighted at the significant progress that is already being made by Court Fields.

“The Trust leadership extends now across both schools and is very strong.

“We are very focused on ensuring that all the children at both schools make more than expected progress and that they all enjoy the same high standards and expectations that are well established at The Castle. We look forward to continued success at both schools.”

Earlier this month, Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne met with Ms Bennett to see how teaching standards were being raised at the school.

He said: “I was impressed by the attitude of the staff and students at Court Fields. There is an acceptance that changes needed to be made and an enthusiasm for raising standards.

“I know that Court Fields is benefitting from working with Castle. I hope this will be a fruitful relationship on both sides, with Castle also gaining some new ideas from Court Fields.”

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