Schools create federation to provide ‘all through education’ through to GCSE level

Three Bedford schools form a federation - Helen Ward, head teacher at Hazeldene Lower School, Polly Ross, acting head teacher at Castle Lower School and Ruth Wilkes, head teacher of Newnham Middle School.
Three Bedford schools form a federation - Helen Ward, head teacher at Hazeldene Lower School, Polly Ross, acting head teacher at Castle Lower School and Ruth Wilkes, head teacher of Newnham Middle School.

Three community schools have agreed to become a federation to provide an ‘all through education.’

Newnham Middle, Castle Lower and Hazeldene Lower schools have joined forces to ensure children in their community will have a straightforward route through high-quality education from their first day right through to GCSEs.

While Bedford Borough has been a three-tier school system, it is now changing and the federation hopes to give children and their parents a clear and stable educational system that will offer continuity.

The decision follows extensive consultation with the community and the schools. Their head teachers and staff now look forward to developing a strong partnership, with Castle and Newnham being under one governing body and one head teacher and Hazeldene with close links on curriculum, staff and pupils.

The schools will come into being as a federation from January 2016.

Ruth Wilkes, head teacher of Newnham said: “We are delighted to be working in federation with Castle and Hazeldene. We have long-established partnerships with a history of joint activity across the curriculum as well as a shared ethos with excellent teaching and learning at the heart. We look forward to working even more closely together to provide a superb model of all-through schooling for our community from nursery right up to GCSE.”

Polly Ross, acting head teacher at Castle, said: “The proposed federation offers an exciting opportunity for children, parents, staff and governors to become part of an all through approach to learning. Transitions and how they are managed are crucial to learning and pupil wellbeing. This model will provide clear progression pathways for our pupils where relationships can grow and be built upon throughout their school journey.”

Helen Ward, head teacher at Hazeldene said: “We are delighted with the decision to federate the three schools. We are already making exciting plans for our current year 3 and year 4 children to spend time with their peers at Castle Lower. There will be sessions held at Newnham where the children will be learning fun new skills alongside making new friendships. We look forward to a fantastic future for all the children in the federation.”

The plan is:

Pupils currently in Year 3, or below at Castle will remain at Castle (but on the Newnham site) for Years 5 and 6 from September 2017.

Pupils currently in Year 3 (or below) at Hazeldene will remain at their own school for Years 5 and 6, transferring into Year 7 for secondary education on the Newnham site.

Pupils already at Newnham in Year 7, or below, will be able to stay right through to year 11 (16 years old) and take GCSE examinations.

Work is already underway to develop a top-class secondary curriculum building on the excellent subject specialism in Key Stage 3.

If you would like more information about the federation then visit the school websites or follow on twitter@ChnFederation