Educating Norfolk: Guest column by Mick Castle, cabinet member for education at Norfolk County Council

Mick Castle.  Picture: James Bass Mick Castle. Picture: James Bass

Saturday, March 1, 2014
8:00 AM

We asked some of the leading figures in the world of Norfolk education to tell us what makes a good school. Here, Mick Castle, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for schools and a teacher of 13 years, gives his view.

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Whatever the school, good leadership and governance are absolutely essential to its success.

A good school will always have talented teachers whose performance is monitored by the school’s senior leadership team and governors.

Good quality buildings and facilities – and adequate opportunities for sport and extra-curricular activities – help to lift aspirations for pupils and the community.

A good school is at the heart of its local community and has the respect and support of local people. It does not tolerate bullying and racism and staff, parents and pupils work together to root this out.

It is also inclusive and serves all its pupils whatever their background or ability, inspiring and encouraging them to achieve their potential.

It values and fosters educational excellence, and supports and encourages pupils with special educational needs.

It is never complacent about teaching standards, or the achievements of its students, and supports the professional development of its teachers and support staff.

It also shares good practice throughout its community.

A good school recognises the achievements of its students and encourages them to be role models. It works closely with employers, colleges, universities and training providers to create opportunities for youngsters to engage with the world of work and understand the choices they need to make to enhance their future employment prospects.

At the county council, we are doing all we can to support and challenge schools to raise attainment.

Our aim is for all Norfolk schools to be good or outstanding by 2016 but we can’t achieve this on our own. Crucially, parents can make a difference by getting involved in their school and taking a keen interest in their children’s progress. Only by working together can we deliver the changes we all want to see.

16 comments

  • The paper version of the EDP carries a story about Castle making bull.ying comments relating to Borrett which cllr Garrod is raising during Mondays cabinet meeting. Castle obviously resorts to bull.ying as a standard method of acheiving his ends. This man is totally unsuitable to be incharge of education his actions are deplorable as a role model for children I cant think of a worse person. Time all respectable cllrs demanded his removal from the cabinet pronto!

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    Canary Boy

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • I think I'm with Canary Boy on this one... Castle needs to go! How on earth can someone think it's ok to bully and be in charge of education in Norfolk? It'll be interesting to hear George Nobbs' reaction to this, whether he dismisses Castle, or defends him... I don't think he has much choice. As for Mr Cameron Isaliar, I think your username says it' all really; at least if your going to debate on here be constructive. As a young man (about 2526 I think) Tom Garrod must have worked very hard to get to where he's got, especially with his CP. In my opinion he's refreshingly different from the typical Tories like Borrett, Jordan and Thomas as he must have a different perspective on life. I guess with a username like yours, it goes without saying your going to critisize every Conservative mentioned for the sake of it!

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    Jack Greenacre

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

  • "Crucially, parents can make a difference by getting involved in their school and taking a keen interest in their children’s progress. Only by working together can we deliver the changes we all want to see." To quote Mr Castle - or more likely the DfE "guidelines" his Norfolk Education Authority are having to use while they seek to get themselves out of Special Measures. But what of those parents who do get actively involved & attempt to work together with schools and NCC, Mr Castle. They're only worth your time if they'll happily bend to your every Goveite whim and heaven forbid if they've actually studied facts and examples which brings them to the conclusion that you are NOT right in your actions. I only need to say five words and they will undermine not only the paragraph I've quoted but your entire column above and, indeed, your entire working ethos and mandate: Cavell Primary and Nursery School.

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    Tina B

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • Here, here Can'ary. Even if Ca.stle considered his comments were taken out of context, he should not have put them in black and white to start with. How can he think himself suitable for the post of Cabinet Member for Education when he doesn't have the common sense to realise it is him that needs educating.

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    Sandy.L

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • "Nice to see so many experts piping up", Mr Castle, your sarcasm betrays you.

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    Thoreauwasright

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • What he could have said is that in reality NCC has never really been bothered about poor schools, as long as the pupils were not burning down the school or murdering each other, then all was well. All their so called strategies didn't work simply because of a system where a Head doesn't have to listen to NCC if he doesn't like it, and a teacher doesn't have to listen to his head, they can only be 'directed'. If I remember correctly didn't a lot of Norfolk Schools refuse to do a government key stage assessment simply because the unions didn't agree to it? So the ship of NCC education has been in effect rudderless, and steaming perpetually in the calm seas of educational mundanity. Now we have hurricane Gove, and even the NUT is struggling to keep the fleet of state education together, and one ship in particular is in the centre of the storm...Cavell Primary and Nursery School.

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    Rhombus

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • sorry, firstentence should be 'his bullying of cllr. Kemp' on Radio Norfolk.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • The article doesn't sound like any one person's views but is more like a committee made party political broadcast. Can you not think for yourself Mr. Castle?

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    Thoreauwasright

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • Mick Castle. If he told me the sky was blue I'd have to go outside and check for myself. Trust him as far as I can throw him. And who can forget his treatment of the former Labour Councillor and Norfolk hero, Alex Kemp on the radio?

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    alecto

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • These points, wherever they came from, are spot on. I say this with experience of 23 years as a head of an outstanding school (not in Norfolk, sadly). The key issues for me are simple; never accept second best and always be looking to improve in all aspects of the work of the school. Things are greatly helped if all parents fully support the school and do not undermine its values and ethos. Sadly, nowadays, too many seem too eager to oppose the efforts of the school out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

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    la barbe

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • Castle, a teacher ?. A bully, so full of himself and never wrong. That sums up exactly, what is wrong with education in Norfolk. All the teachers are the same.

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    "V"

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • Nice to see so many experts piping up - however sour or unhelpful their comments. I remain committed to getting a better deal for Norfolk school children - and driving up standards in all our local schools whether they be faith schools, academies, free schools or LEA community schools.

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    Mick Castle

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • Cllr. CVastle once was committed to getting Gt. Yarmouth recycling, he failed at it. His bullying of Cllr. castle, for all to hear on Radio Norfolk makes him the most unsuitable person to lecture OUR children on bullying. Was Cllr. Castle was once bullied himself? If he can't stop school bullying, after having been in charge for nearly a year, does that mean he's failed? or will he feel good about having provided future bullies for an unpopular political party scene? Why is it that we don't promote unpopular celebrities but we do continously try to justify the actions, as well as provide ample publicity for unpopular party politicians?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • What would Mick Castle know?

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    John L Norton

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • Do you also remain commited to bull.ying people who disagree with you Cllr Castle? To order Cllr Sands to bring Alex Kemp under control via the whip was bully.ing of the worse sort if the email had not been made public Cllr Sands would have been blamed! Bit like the Kevingate episode when Murphy used Kevin Vaughan to do his dirty work. Refusing to remove the bullying comment regarding Borrett evidences just how unsuitable you are to hold the portfolio for schools.

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    Canary Boy

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • I suggest you refrain from making silly comments on facebook and get on with it then.

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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