The Castle School, Taunton
|Motto||Achieve , Belong , Participate|
|DfE URN||136916 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Students||1,228 as of January 2012[update]|
|Houses||Balmoral, Lancaster, Caernavon, Buckingham, Windsor, Sandrigham|
|Colours||Green, Orange, Purple, Red, Blue, Yellow|
The Castle School is a co-educational secondary school in Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom. It had 1,228 pupils aged 11 to 16 as of January 2012[update], and has had specialist Sports College status since 2003. It has recently been granted a second specialism in Vocational Education. During the schools latest Ofsted inspection, it received an "outstanding" rating in 26 out of 27 criteria. In July 2011, the school became an Academy.
The school has many facilities which are used extensively by students and the local community on a regular basis. There are many sporting facilities for example such as the new Athletics Track and G3 synthetic turf pitch which is one of the only all weather pitches in the UK. In addition there is a fully equipped gym with state-of-the-art equipment as well as a sports hall. All of these facilities are used by students participating in P.E. and extra curricular activities and the local community also participate in activities and clubs run by the sports centre. In addition to the sporting facilities at the school there are also IT facilities available exclusively to students. There are five stand alone IT rooms as well as computers being situated in the Craft Design and Technology department, Art department and in other assorted classrooms. The library has undergone major refurbishment, and is now an integrated learning centre, with forty computers, two smart boards and a seminar room. These facilities offer students advanced help in their work, especially in History which is very IT involved, with most lessons using IT to bring learning to life. On a much smaller scale the school also offers a Video Editing Suite, used by Drama students to edit and refine their work. It is also used by students to help the school in many other ways such as producing video work for the schools leavers prom, and in the creation of promotional videos.
There are also the specially built music rooms complementing and supporting the musical talent of Castle students. These music rooms help students studying music from year 7 to year 11 and also support musical bands set up by groups of students. The main hall also facilitates musical concerts, enabling students who participate in extra curricular music to express and show their talent. The main hall has played host to a large number of student bands, including Stoneflow, Crimson Love, The Shindigs (now disbanded), The Swelling, Blue Roots and many other one-off performances for the annual Christmas Variety Show, such as Some People who closed the 2006 show with a rendition of The Who's anthem "Pinball Wizard". A memorable performance from the 2006 Variety Show is the Drum Kit duet/battle that came second overall. Another notable performance came from a four piece group who played in several shows and won the Variety Show Trophy in 2004 with 'Bathwater'. The school hosts many student related concerts, mainly for charity.
The original parts of the building include the tower block, and the ground floor building connected to it, which covers the canteen, main hall and science blocks. The newer buildings include the Qdos 6th Form Building, which opened in 2010 replacing two ageing mobile huts and partly extending the jubilee building, the Sealy Building, Sports hall and Sports centre and the Jubilee building which opened in 2003. This has enabled departments to grow and offer more to its students by way of facilities and improved teaching rooms. During a recent questionnaire of 667 head teachers Castle school was mentioned of having 1236 pupils for a site only designed to hold 600 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/may/20/schools-unfit-to-learn-in).
Drama and dance
The school is very well supported in both these areas, both by students and teachers. The Drama department for example is supported by a technical crew made up solely of six students and a staff member, who set-up and operate all the sound and lighting for shows, as well as lend technical support in many other areas. There are numerous productions which take place throughout the year including the House Drama and House Dance, as well as the Variety Show.
It has been traditional for the school over the years to put on a main production which is either a musical or a play. Recent productions have included The Wizard of Oz (2007), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2006), Bugsy Malone (2005) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (2004). The productions have also combined dancing supported by the dance department. Once again the main productions gain a lot of support from teachers, students and parents as well as the local community and continue to grow and improve each year. 2008's production was West Side Story, 2009'sOliver Twist, and 2010's "Anything Goes". In 2014, a brand new hall & stage was built, doubling the performance space. It was reopened with the students performing Hairspray, the schools biggest performance yet.