Castle Wood School

Transforming the lives of pupils through learning, innovation, inclusion and partnerships

Outstanding teaching is characterised by lively creative and imaginative learning (Ofsted 2015). Parents are well supported by the school and partnership working between home and school is very strong (Ofsted 2015). Pupils individual needs are met very effectively by diligent staff and exciting activities (Ofsted 2015). Senior leaders and governors have created a positive learning climate enabling pupils to thrive (Ofsted 2015). Pupils are enthusiastic learners (Ofsted 2015). Lessons are typified by a wide range of creative stimulating and interesting activities for pupils (Ofsted 2015). Parents are well supported by the school, and partnership working between home and school is very strong Parents hold the school in high regard (Ofsted 2015).

Learning outside the classroom - Empty Classroom Day

In an age where the average child spends less free time outside than a maximum security prisoner the need for learning outside the classroom has never been more paramount; a disturbing fact and something we wanted to actively discourage. To begin to tackle this at Castle Wood we joined the national initiative, Empty Classroom Day, to promote learning and creative teaching within the outdoor environment. With this in mind we started with clear objectives outlining what we wanted to achieve:

For all children to access their learning in an outdoor environment: generalising the skills they learn within the classroom

For staff to be given the freedom to be creative with their teaching, creating exciting lessons that capture children’s imagination within an outdoor environment

The initiative was a huge success for the school and we hope it will continue to grow and develop each year as teaching outdoors becomes embedded into the daily routines of each class. For our children, particularly those with ASD, we find learning happens naturally in the outdoor environment. The freedom of open space reduces anxiety and allows for confidence and natural curiosity to shine through. As a school we are committed to providing our children with a range of learning experiences within the outdoor environment and providing staff with training and the opportunities to use all outdoor spaces creatively.