At the Mead Educational Trust, together we Make A Positive Difference to the lives of children and young people in our schools. We are proud to have Castle Mead Academy join the TMET family, our tenth school in the trust, the newest in the city and our first Free School.
With the opportunity to open a brand new school as part of the Free School programme, we drew widely from research and best practice to shape the provision at Castle Mead, taking the opportunity to bring new approaches to the education offer in the city of Leicester. From the start, we knew we wanted the school to be open to all city children and cater particularly to the enhancement of educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged in our city. Factors that traditionally act as barriers to the achievement of disadvantaged pupils have been actively designed out in the planning and design stage. Factors that make for an enriched provision for all pupils have been deliberately designed in: a knowledge rich curriculum, a longer school day, afterschool electives for all, weekly prep time, enhanced arts provision, especially in music, placing reading at the centre of school life and giving all access to high quality sports provision. Through the expertise of the wider TMET team, the leadership of the Principal, Tom Hague, and the highly talented founding staff team, all of these elements have been realised.
A noteworthy aspect of the school’s provision is its rich and challenging curriculum. The EBacc suite of subjects (English, maths, science, a modern foreign language, history / geography) take centre stage in the curriculum enhanced by a wider offer in the arts and sports. Subject leaders have embraced the opportunity to design a curriculum from scratch, identifying key concepts, ensuring their optimum sequencing and using this to inspire pupils to learn. The intent statements on our website show the high ambition for pupils in each area of the curriculum. This richness of curriculum is underpinned by a very well thought through research informed pedagogical approach, Invigorating Instruction.
The provision for the wider development of pupils is equally strong. Castle Character Time was a new and untested feature of the original bid and it has been exceptionally well realised with a compelling variety of sessions on offer. It is a joy to see the orchestra and choir up and running already!
Castle Mead is a safe and happy school. There are well thought through routines for each aspect of the school day and pupils are actively guided through the Castle Credo of Be Kind, Work Hard and Build Your Character. Therefore, pupils have a clear and consistent framework to guide their conduct and learning.
We are delighted that parents have placed their trust in us with our first year group full to the planned admission number. We are constantly gathering the views of parents and welcoming in visitors to so that we can test whether others agree what a strong start has been made at Castle Mead. So far, all have been highly positive in their comments. We will now build on the strong start made as we begin preparations to welcome in the next cohort of staff and pupils and move into our new building in August 2021.
Castle Mead Academy will be characterised by high expectations, doing the simple things well, and the belief that all children can succeed. Situated in the heart of historic Leicester, we are driven by a moral commitment to ‘grow a community of excellence’ for the benefit of all children in the city.
It is a great privilege to be entrusted to educate another person’s child. For me, education is about developing both students’ intelligence and character. With extended opportunities our students will have more time to acquire knowledge, skills and understanding, as well as more opportunities to broaden their learning and expand their horizons. Therefore, every student will have access to the best provision, being enabled to achieve highly regardless of prior attainment, needs or background.
We are fortunate to be ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’, building on the successes of Rushey Mead Academy and learning from the best ideas from across other academies and free schools, the independent sector and schools internationally.
Our founding year group, the class of 2024, will be very special to Castle Mead Academy. They will be cherished and challenged and will be the flagbearers of our academy values – setting the tone for the year groups to follow. Our goal is to give them both ‘roots and wings’, so as they can be grounded in good values and be able to fly to realise their ambitions.
Tom Hague, Principal