News

Thank you from Learning Support team

Read on for a lovely thank you letter from the Castle School Learning Support team:

"A massive thank you for all the donations we have received so far towards creating our quiet room. Both the staff and students who have used the room were delighted by the calm atmosphere and the many resources available. The lights have been a fantastic addition and can be changed to suit each student's individual mood or need. We have used many fiddle toys and craft sets purchased for supporting mindfulness and relaxation techniques. The room is an ever changing space for the needs of the students, so we always welcome any resources gratefully."

Y8 student: “I like the coloured lights, the red ones are my favourite.”

Y11 student: “It has a calm feeling to it. I love the lights, “it’s a mini disco!” Having somewhere to go when I need space is invaluable.”

LS staff : “The fish bubble tube that was kindly donated by a parent is a welcoming addition to the room. Its low hum is soothing and the fish make it interesting to watch.”

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated - your generosity has a real, positive effect on students and staff .

If you'd like to donate, check out our Amazon wishlist: https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/ZEINIEH1YYIL

ASDA green tokens scheme – your vote counts!


Help us to raise money for Castle School by voting in the Asda Green Token Giving scheme this autumn. You don’t have to shop at Asda to vote - in fact you don’t even need to leave home!


Asda Patchway have chosen Castle School Friends as one of three local good causes competing for a donation of up to £500. Voting is all online – it’s open now until the end of December and you can vote up to once a week. The cause with the most votes wins the highest prize.


It’s really easy to vote - go to https://www.asda.com/green-tokens, select Patchway from the dropdown list and then choose Castle School Friends as your good cause. Add your email address and click on the link in the email to confirm your vote. It takes less than a minute, but your votes could make all the difference. Thank you!

July 2022: Erin is a winner!

Huge congratulations to all the winners of the CSET awards last week, including our very own Erin Baker (Y12) who won the ‘Contribution to the Wider Community’ Award!

Erin won the award for her work volunteering with Castle School Friends and for her active role on the student council, supporting local and national charities. She will attend an awards ceremony on 11 July at UWE, where all the individual CSET winners will celebrate together.

Erin has been involved with CSF since it was established in 2018 and has helped out at many of our events – selling refreshments, gardening and much more! Volunteering has given Erin the opportunity to work with many different people from the local community; she has seen first-hand the rewards volunteering brings and can always be relied upon to help out and organise, thinking on her feet and making great decisions.

We wish Erin all the best as she moves on to Year 13, and we look forward to working with the new Year 12 student council. Castle School Friends welcomes volunteers from throughout our school and local community, so if you or your young people would like to get involved, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

June 2022: Green challenge raises £250 for Castle School!

Zoe and Amelia Ashfield were set a green challenge by their Dad over the winter to walk home from school every day. They turned this into a fundraising challenge and managed to raise over £250! The girls chose to donate it to Castle School and decided to use the Castle School Amazon Wishlist, which the school uses to request supplies that are running short in the classroom.

Zoe enjoys Maths and spent her funds on white boards, pens, glue sticks and other resources. Amelia likes French and decided to buy voice recorders, pens and text books for the Languages department.

We'd like to say a massive well done to the girls for completing their green challenge, and a huge thank you for their kindness and generosity in donating the money they raised to the school. They are a real example of how you can make a difference!

June 2022: Thank you Thornbury Lions!

Thornbury Lions have always been fantastic supporters of Castle School Friends, and we'd like to say a big thank you to them for their recent generous donation of £500. This money will be used to buy a range of items for DT and Music, which are much needed by the school. Pictured are CSF Vice-chair Ruth Gale with Lions President Peter Fish and three Castle School students.

June 2022: Sweet success

We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone for supporting us at our Tortworth Lake event on Sunday 5 June - we raised an amazing £1000!

Thank you so much to all the amazing home bakers who donated dozens and dozens of cakes - from huge lemon drizzle traybakes to elaborate chocolate creations, from gorgeously iced cupcakes to big tubs of rocky road . We're incredibly grateful for each and every one.

Thank you to everyone who visited the lake on Sunday and bought a drink or a piece of cake, or took part in our nature trail - it was wonderful to see so many friends of Castle School there.

And of course, thank you to all our volunteers and our committee, especially our Vice-Chair Ruth, who worked tirelessly to plan and run such a successful event.

All the money we raised will go to support the Castle School. It will be used to fund new resources for the DT Food Technology team, including a fridge and replacement ovens - helping to inspire the next generation of bakers!

May 2022: Your generosity hits us for six!

Thank you so much to everyone who’s bought items from the Castle School Amazon Wishlist recently, like this fantastic cricket set for the PE department.

The wishlist covers a huge range of items that have been suggested by different school departments and includes sports equipment, books, stationery, art materials, science supplies and items for learning support. When you buy an item from the wish list it’s delivered directly to the school and put into use straight away – each item makes a real difference for students and staff.

So next time you buy something from Amazon, please consider sharing the love and adding a little something for Castle School too!

May 2022: Lego donations making a difference

We received a lovely message this week from Carmen and Fiona, the Castle School Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs), which really highlights what a positive difference your donations are making to students:

"We wanted to say a big thank you for supporting us with the donation of Lego sets. As ELSAs It has been incredibly helpful to have material to work with our students.

Playing with LEGO has brought the students positive, meaningful social experiences in an understanding, playful and accepting environment. With this material we can promote self confidence and start to develop meaningful friendships, all whilst using their skills in collaborating, turn taking, fine motor skills, communicating and problem-solving.

Emotionally, playing with Lego makes young people feel less anxious, improves their self-esteem and starts to build confidence and friendships in a safe environment.

We can see the children’s faces when they finish a set, they leave a session with a huge sense of pride for what they’ve created. And they often share this pride outside school, talking about their creations with others.

So, thank you very much for your help!!"

May 2022: The votes are in...

Thanks to your generous support CSF has just been awarded £1,000 by the Tesco blue tokens scheme!👍

This is a fantastic result for all those little blue tokens you popped into the totaliser after shopping at Tesco Thornbury earlier this year. Thank you - it means a lot to know the local community actively supports our students at Castle School.

CSF members regularly meet with school staff to determine funding priorities, so watch this space for news on how this sum will go towards helping our young people to reach their potential.

April 2022: Raising funds for Ukrainian families

Castle School Friends are delighted to support the Student Council with their fantastic new fundraising initiative. The students will take over the management of our textiles recycling bin to raise money for Ukrainian families moving to our local area. So if you’ve had a clear out recently, please use the textile bin to donate your bagged, pre-loved clothes and help raise money for those who really need it.

To get the best return, items should be in good condition and reusable. You can donate clothing, paired shoes, belts, handbags, bed linen and soft toys. Unfortunately we can’t accept duvets or pillows, bric-a-brac or plastic toys. The textile recycling bin is located at the front of the school near reception, and is accessible until 6pm.

April 2022: DT dishwasher donation

DT Food Technician Sarah (pictured) and the rest of the DT staff would like to say a huge thank you to the generous member of the community who came to their rescue and kindly donated a dishwasher. It was put to work within ten minutes of installation, and it will make a big difference to the day to day running of the department.

We are still on the look out for a tumble dryer for DT, so if you have a used, working tumble dryer in good condition that you could donate, please get in touch and let us know!

April 2022: Quiz night is a winner!

Parents, carers, students, teachers and friends clubbed together to raise over £1,000 at our latest Castle School Friends Quiz Night.

This whopping sum was raised from ticket sales, refreshments, and a fantastic raffle organised by students which raised £400. The money raised from the raffle will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee, while the balance will go to the school.

A total of 17 teams came together to fill the main school hall, competing in ten rounds of questions from quizmaster Graham Witchard, including the ever-popular picture round. Well done to the winning team, Hel’s Angels, who won six free meals courtesy of Parky's Chippy!

Our thanks go to the CSF organising team headed by Jenny, to Graham for the quiz, to the Sixth Form Student Council for the raffle, and to all of our local business supporters for their generosity with raffle prizes, including Coffee#1, The Bristol Coffee Company Ltd, The Swan, Dees Cakes, The Severn Weigh, Prezzo, Linela, Papilio at Heritage, Castle Crafts and the community of Olveston.

March 2022: AGM update

Thank you to everyone who attended our AGM at the end of last term. It was great to look back at what we’ve achieved over the last year and hear about the real difference that our support has made to the school.

In 2021 we raised over £6,000 and ran a number of successful events including quiz nights, car boot sales and gardening days. We even put our mocktail-making skills to good use to support the Year 11 Prom! Thanks to your support we’ve been able to provide a range of resources for the school, including cameras, microscopes, musical instruments, books, picnic tables and much more.

We were delighted to hear that both the school governing body and Ofsted recognised Castle School Friends as a strong support group making a valuable contribution to school life. School funds are tight due to increasing costs, so with your help CSF funding really helps makes a difference with those added extras.

March 2022: A big thank you from the Photography department

The Photography department would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has bought items for them from the Castle School Amazon Wishlist 🙂. Thanks to the purchase of a set of LED lights the students have been creating some amazing images, including this fabulous photo taken by a Year 11 student.

All of the items on the Amazon wishlist have been requested by the departments themselves, and everything you buy is delivered straight to the school and put into use straight away. Your generous donations make a real difference - thank you!

March 2022: New microscopes for Science

We're hugely grateful to Renishaw Engineering and the National Grid for grants that have allowed us to buy 15 microscopes and a trolley for the Science department. This equipment is already in use and enhancing students' learning. Thank you!

March 2022: Wishes really do come true...

Thank you so much to everyone who's bought items from the Castle School Amazon Wishlist recently.

The latest goodies to arrive at school included a football and pump for the PE department, pencils for DT, a study guide for Science, Lego for Learning Support and a mouse for the ICT department. Not forgetting some lovely books for the Resource Centre! These items have been distributed to their new homes and will start being used straight away.

The staff at the Castle School have sent their thanks to everyone who has donated items from the wishlist - it really does make a difference.

February 2022: IT delivery

Castle School Friends have sourced and delivered 50 computer keyboards and 50 mice to the school. These were free, thanks to our friends at Collecteco, who donate surplus office equipment to good causes like ours!

February 2022: Lights, camera, action!

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Olveston Parish Council, who recently gave a grant of £1,500 for the photography department. Grants like this make a real difference, and we’re incredibly grateful on behalf of the school. Thanks to this generosity and other help from the community, we’ve recently supplied cameras, photographic equipment and lighting for students.

Joanna Blake, Head of Photography, said “We have been able to purchase substantial amounts of equipment and our students are loving it. This has led to students being able to develop their photographic skills and produce some high quality and creatively exciting pieces of work. We are really hoping to be able to hold an exhibition towards the end of the school year in which we can celebrate all of their achievements.”

We couldn’t do this without you and supporters like Olveston Parish Council, so a massive THANK YOU!

February 2022: Together we're cleaning up!

"I can't tell you what a difference it will make to keeping the Science department running smoothly and ensuring the students have the lab glassware they need ready for their lessons,” says Senior Science Technician Alex Craig (pictured) on the kind donation of a dishwasher.

It’s a huge thank you to the Lomax family who answered our call and donated the dishwasher which is already plumbed in and working. Thank you too for the other kind offers of help which we have forwarded onto the Science team.

January 2022: Calling all shoppers

Fantastic news - we’ve been selected as one of the good causes for the latest Tesco community grants scheme! Next time you’re shopping at Tesco Thornbury, remember to grab a blue token and pop it in the counting device behind the checkout tills.

There are three good causes to choose from, which can benefit from up to £1,500 depending who gets the most tokens.

Voting is open in-store until the end of March so let’s get shopping and counting up those tokens!

December 2021: School Christmas Tree

That’s teamwork! Castle School Friends sourced a Christmas tree to give the school an extra bit of festive sparkle.

Rob at Lodge Farm Trees donated the tree (thanks Rob!), and Year 7 students decorated it with lovely homemade kindness baubles.

Well done everyone - it looks great! The Christmas tree is near the main school hall and is pictured with Head of Year 7 Mrs Willmott.

October 2021: Wishlist donations off to a flying start

A massive thank you to everyone who has bought items from the Castle School Amazon wishlist! Since the start of the new term, Castle School Friends have had the pleasure of delivering wishlist items to 7 different faculties, including Art, DT, Science, Languages, Maths, PE and Photography.

PE Teacher Lloyd Spacey (pictured) told us "these wish list gifts really do make a difference, we were desperate for some replacement training balls and these have arrived just at the right time".

October 2021: Quizzers raise cash

14 teams joined us for a fun Quiz Night at school, battling it out over ten tough rounds with our esteemed quiz master Graham posing the questions.

Congratulations to the Masked Quizzers who each won a £10 Parkys chippy voucher, and also to the lucky winner of the £25 6 O'clock Gin voucher!

Our thanks to helpers Jenny, Cindy, Annabelle, Mark, Andy, Kirsty, Sue, Ruth and Maria - look out for our next quiz early in the New Year.

September 2021: Grant award from local engineering firm

Huge thanks to Renishaw for donating £500 to the school following a grant application by Castle School Friends. Renishaw's Charities Committee approved the funding which will be used to buy microscopes for the Science Department.

September 2021: Gardening Day

Parents, friends and teachers spent a morning on the Sixth Form site cutting, trimming, pruning and tidying up some of the outdoor spaces. Lots of fun was had and it made our day when we were joined by Sixth Former Cerys who popped along to help out.

With your help Castle School Friends is gifting the school over £4,000 worth of equipment for the current school year 2021/2022

The money will be spent on items for several departments following discussion with teachers: including microscopes, musical instruments and textbooks.

Some of the funds will pay for three damage-proof picnic tables for Year 7 and 8 students; with outdoors seating at a premium now year groups are assigned different space at break time.

Fundraising events for the new school year include quiz nights and a car boot sale. We're planning a gardening day too, so watch this space.

Summer 2021: Committee members support Year 11 Prom celebration event

CSF committee members loved serving up 'mocktails’ for Year 11 students at their celebratory ‘Prom’ event in July. It was great to see the students having fun and we were very happy to offer some iced soft drinks to keep everyone cool. Thanks to Justin, Will, Rachel, Cindy and Deb.

Summer 2021: Bargain hunt!

Buyers and sellers grabbed lots of bargains during two car boot sales in early summer. The events raised over £800 for the school and we were lucky with the sunny weather - thanks to everyone who came along and supported us.