I recently spent a week at Castle Hill Junior School in Basingstoke. The headteacher, John Martin, visited The Key last year to share some thoughts on overcoming challenges, and extended an invitation to us to see the school’s approach.
One thing I remembered from John’s talk was that when visitors come to the school, pupils show them round. So I was impressed, but not too surprised, when two year 6 pupils (a head boy and a deputy head girl) led me around the classes, confidently fielding my questions and setting the tone for the rest of my visit.
I saw similarly impressive levels of social skills in all the classrooms I visited. The school has high expectations across the board, but also develops pupils’ social skills in creative ways. John makes sure that every child who wants a leadership role can take one on, by getting involved in the student senate or becoming a prefect, for example.
The school also targets pupil premium support on developing children’s self-esteem and confidence in discussions. John himself takes his ‘A-team’ of pupils for work on maths and literacy, and the children in this group clearly enjoyed the extra attention from their headteacher. One of the highlights of my visit was seeing them enthusiastically singing the A-Team theme when he called them out of the class for their session.
One of our aims at The Key is to share inspiring practice with our members, so we’ll be including case studies from Castle Hill in articles for our school leader service later in the term.