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Castle EAST School, in Hillside Road East, Bungay, praised for ‘restless ambition’ in outstanding Ofsted grading





A special school with a ‘restless ambition’ to do the best for its pupils has received top marks from Ofsted.

Castle EAST School, in Hillside Road East, Bungay, was visited by the watchdog on March 19 and 20 and was graded outstanding in all areas.

It was the first inspection since the school, which is for children in years five to 11 with communication and interaction (C&I) needs, opened in autumn 2021.

Castle EAST School, in Hillside Road East, Bungay, has been graded outstanding by Ofsted. Picture: Castle EAST
Castle EAST School, in Hillside Road East, Bungay, has been graded outstanding by Ofsted. Picture: Castle EAST

Headteacher Anna Mears said: “We are delighted with the outcome of our recent Ofsted inspection.

“The report highlights the hard work and commitment of our brilliant staff and excellent pupils. It exemplifies what we doing here at Castle EAST School to support our pupils to grow in confidence and resilience alongside working towards their aspirations.

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved – it is an absolute privilege to lead this outstanding school.”

Anna Mears, Castle EAST Headteacher, said the outstanding Ofsted report highlights the 'hard work and commitment of our brilliant staff and excellent pupils. Picture: Castle EAST
Anna Mears, Castle EAST Headteacher, said the outstanding Ofsted report highlights the 'hard work and commitment of our brilliant staff and excellent pupils. Picture: Castle EAST

Inspectors Marc White and Ashey Best-White said high expectations and mutual respect underpin relationships between students and staff.

Pupils ‘love’ coming to the school, which is part of the East Anglian Schools Trust (EAST), and are ‘proud to be members’ of its community.

The report noted pupils thrive off opportunities and activities arranged by the school, including visits to churches, libraries and the theatre.

Ofsted's visit to Castle East, in Hillside Road East, Bungay, was the watchdog's first inspection of the school since it opened in autumn 2021. Picture: Castle EAST
Ofsted's visit to Castle East, in Hillside Road East, Bungay, was the watchdog's first inspection of the school since it opened in autumn 2021. Picture: Castle EAST

Inspectors said the impact the school has on children’s academic and personal development is ‘remarkable’ and that parents are effusive in their praise for it, describing it as ‘transformational’.

The school’s ‘ambitious’ curriculum is consistently high across subjects meaning students achieve well regardless of their starting point.

It has fostered a culture of positive behaviour and staff help to keep pupils focused on learning.

Castle EAST's Ofsted report said the school has created a culture of 'very positive behaviour'. Picture: Castle EAST
Castle EAST's Ofsted report said the school has created a culture of 'very positive behaviour'. Picture: Castle EAST

Angelo Goduti, EAST CEO, said: “The Ofsted outcome is reflective of the remarkable education our pupils experience on a daily basis, and we are extremely proud of what is achieved by all.

“Thank you to Anna Mears for her outstanding leadership, staff for their excellent expertise and dedication, and parents for their ongoing support.”

The report said a range of strategies are used to create bespoke support to maintain high attendance, with many pupils who join the school having a history of high absence.

Ofsted inspectors Marc White and Beth Ashley-White said 'high expectations and mutual respect' underpin staff and student relationshipsat the school. Picture: Castle EAST
Ofsted inspectors Marc White and Beth Ashley-White said 'high expectations and mutual respect' underpin staff and student relationshipsat the school. Picture: Castle EAST

The school has created a ‘comprehensive and well-planned’ careers programme, including work experience opportunities that cater for students’ individual ambitions as well as visits to local colleges.

Safeguarding arrangements are regarded as effective.

Inspectors said leaders, governors and trustees have a ‘clear, shared vision of success’, working together closely to ensure the best for pupils and staff.