Castle High School, Dudley

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For schools of the same name, see Castle High School (disambiguation).

Castle high
Castle High logo.jpg
Logo of the school
Castle High School - - 316053.jpg
Some of the school buildings, as seen from St James's Road</bigg/>
Established 1989 (1989)
Type Voluntary Aided
Headteacher Ms Michelle King
Location St James's Road
West Midlands
52°30′43″N 2°05′24″W / 52.512°N 2.090°W / 52.512; -2.090Coordinates: 52°30′43″N 2°05′24″W / 52.512°N 2.090°W / 52.512; -2.090
Local authority Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
DfE URN 103867 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1072 max. capacity
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–16
Telephone 01384 816045

Castle High School is a secondary school located in Dudley, West Midlands, England. It caters for pupils aged from 11 to 16 years. It is also a specialist Arts College.

The school[edit]

Castle High School is one of the most recently formed schools in the Dudley area, although its buildings are some of the oldest. It was formed in September 1989 on a merger between The Dudley School and The Blue Coat School, and gave education for pupils aged from 12 to 18 years. It also took in some of the pupils from the closing Sir Gilbert Claughton School. The Dudley School had been established in 1975 by the merger of the selective highly regarded Dudley Grammar School and Dudley Girls High School, 'The Old Dudleians' of The Grammar School for boys at St James's Road making way for the establishment of 'The Dudleians', for former students of Dudley Grammar School and Dudley Girls High School in 2005 with the organisation of the first official joint reunion for 30 years.

The Castle High School name was chosen in a poll by the Dudley School pupils, who also chose the design of the new school's logo.

There had been talk of a merger between the Dudley School and at least one of the other smaller secondary schools in Dudley since 1985 (which would have formed a school called The Ednam School), but the merger between Dudley School and Blue Coat was not confirmed until October 1988. The new school's name was confirmed the following spring.

After a year, the school opened to 11-year-olds following the local authority's decision to reduce the primary school leaving age; at the same time, the sixth form centre was closed and the leaving age for pupils fell to 16. The former sixth form facilities were used as classrooms to accommodate the new younger pupils.

September 1990 also saw the school take in approximately 50% of pupils from Mons Hill School, which closed due to falling pupil numbers. Several teachers at these schools were also recruited to Castle High School.

Unlike the Blue Coat School, however, Castle High School never used the Mons Hill buildings as these were taken over by Dudley College.

For the first year of its existence, Castle High School also incorporated the Blue Coat School buildings on Kates Hill where the final two academic year groups of that school's pupils remained for a year. Sir Gilbert Claughton School (formerly the Sir Gilbert Claughton Grammar Technical School), however, remained a separate school as the final year of that school's pupils completed their education.

A new three-storey classroom block was opened in the 1991 summer term, the first in several phases of expansion which were completed in 1995. The expansion also saw the demolition of the school swimming pool which had been in the Dudley Grammar School buildings. Mobile classrooms were on the site until the permanent buildings were opened.

The expanded Castle High School was officially opened on 20 October 1995 by George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Castle High School is situated in St James's Road, near Dudley town centre, mostly within the buildings of the former Dudley Grammar School (which date back to 1897, the original school being established in 1562). An extension was completed in 1995 and the adjoining buildings in Priory Road (formerly Dudley Girls High School) were demolished at the beginning of the following year.

The school's current head teacher is Ms Michelle King. The previous headteacher was Mr Trevor Johnson, and for the first 13 years of the school's existence the head teacher was Mr Geoff Cresswell. Plans were unveiled in June 2008 for Castle High School to receive Academy status, sponsored by the Oasis Community Learning Trust, possibly in time for the 2009/2010 academic year.[1] However, these plans were thrown into doubt five months later due to doubts over the availability of adequate funding.[2] In March 2009, it was confirmed the academy plans would not go ahead. [3]

28% of the pupils leaving Castle High School in summer 2009 gained 5 or more GCSEs at grade C or above, making it the second lowest ranking secondary school in the borough, despite high pass rates (A-C GCSE) in previous years. [4]

The school is set for a new board of governors and a new head teacher with effect from September 2010, along with a £650,000 refurbishment of the older school buildings.[5]

History time line[edit]

  • December 1985 - Dudley MBC announces plans for a merger of The Dudley School and at least one smaller secondary school to form a new secondary school by the end of the decade. Blue Coat and Gilbert Claughton Schools are believed to be part of the plan for a new school.
  • October 1988 - Following three years of speculation, it is confirmed that the town's main Dudley School will merge with The Blue Coat School with effect from September next year. The plans are part of a major reorganisation of schools in the borough which are also expected to see two secondary school closures within the next two years, along with the secondary transfer age being reduced from 12 to 11. The reorganisation of the school will also see the end of its sixth form largely due to its falling popularity; there will be no intake of new sixth formers for the 1989/90 academic year, although the current lower sixth will be able to complete their A-level studies at the school.
  • April 1989 - It is confirmed that the new school will be called Castle High, a name chosen by the Dudley School and Blue Coat School pupils.
  • September 1989 - Castle High School opens on a merger of The Dudley School and The Blue Coat School, making use of the Dudley School buildings but with the oldest two year groups of Blue Coat pupils remaining at the Blue Coat site for a year. Some of the former Sir Gilbert Claughton School pupils also join the school.
  • July 1990 - Castle High's sixth form centre closes.
  • September 1990 - the school's starting age is reduced from 12 to 11 in accordance with a borough-wide reduction in the transition age between primary and secondary school. Also starting the school are some former pupils of the closed Mons Hill School, which also supplies Castle High with some of its former staff. Construction of a new classroom block is incomplete, meaning that pupils will be taught in mobile classrooms for some lessons in the meantime. Castle High is now a single-site school within the old Dudley School buildings following the closure of the Blue Coat annex.
  • June 1991 - a new classroom block is completed at Castle High School.
  • September 1995 - another new building is completed, meaning that the old Girls High School buildings are now redundant.
  • October 1995 - the expanded Castle High School is officially opened.
  • January 1996 - the former Dudley Girls High School buildings, which until recently were part of Castle High, are demolished and the site re-used as a public car park.
  • June 2008 - Plans are unveiled for Castle High School to become an academy sponsored by the Oasis Community Learning Trust.
  • March 2009 - Plans for the academy to be developed are scrapped.
  • May 2012 - Matthew Bullas a PE teacher was suspended due to pending investigations on his alligations of having indecent images of children on his home computer system, more than 100,000 images were downloaded onto his personal laptop.


The school suffered a tragedy in February 2001 when 12-year-old pupil Scott Holloway died after being knocked down by a van near his home on the Priory Estate.[6] Staff and pupils at Castle High set up a fund in Scott's memory and a total of almost £1,100 was raised for the fund, some of which was raised by bidding for a signed Aston Villa football.[7][permanent dead link] A local van driver later received a fine and a driving ban for careless driving in connection to Scott's death.[8][permanent dead link].

See also[edit]