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Based on its excellent contacts and relationships with the outside world, Castle Vale school & specialist Performing arts College is building a great reputation as one of the area's most enterprising schools.

Whilst recognising the vital importance of making sure its students achieve academically, demonstrated by its fast improving performance in GCSE results, the head Clive Owen, who took over in 2004, is a great believer in making sure the school offers as much as possible to its students in helping them to prepare for life.

A system has been put in place whereby every student is offered the choice to follow a vocational BTEC course for the last two years of their time at the school, which on successful completion can lead to up to the equivalent of four (A* - C) GCSEs. Such courses allow the students to learn in a real world environment, helping to smooth the transition between education and work. An important part of this strategy was to build sustainable relationships with a wide variety of community and business links beneficial to all parties involved.

The students are set real world challenges to help enrich the curriculum, whilst at the same time they benefit from the opportunities to talk to adults outside the field of education.

From the local community and business's point of view, their staff are able to enhance their own individual skills in a different setting. Everyone gains!

Regular interaction takes place with representatives from the local Church, constabulary, armed forces, health and community services, together with local regional and national firms, such as HSBC Bank, Wragge & Co, Pinsent Masons, Wates, Bovis Lendlease, Balfour Beatty and last, but by no means least, MITIE Group.

It was through the sponsorship of MITIE that the school has developed its much admired Construction Skills Centre catering for not only Castle Vale's own students, but also those of several other local schools. This recognised centre of excellence was probably the main reason why Castle Vale school was the first within the Birmingham and Solihull area to be selected to provide the New Diploma in Construction & the Built Environment, for which successful students gain the equivalent of seven (A*-C) GCSEs.

With its specialism in performing arts the school is hoping to hear shortly that it has been successful in its application to host the Creative and Media Diploma with effect from September 2010 - yet another string to its bow.

With regular guest assembly speakers - the most recent range from a successful past student, to a successful female entrepreneur, with the next lined up being the chief executive of Next PLC - the students are able to experience at first hand what it takes to be successful in life after school.

Castle Vale School, with all its outside links from the world of commercial and social enterprise, coupled with its academic offer, certainly gives the students a real helping hand along the road to their own individual success.


Girls enjoy the construction courses at Castle Vale School.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 25, 2009
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