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Castle Newnham School given approval to join BEST

The Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST) is delighted to announce Castle Newnham School has been given the go-ahead to join our trust by the Department for Education.

The school’s application has this week been formally approved by the DfE’s Regional Director for the East of England, Jonathan Duff.

Castle Newnham is a federation of two schools – one primary and one secondary – coming together as a single school community to provide all-through education to 1,400 pupils in the centre of Bedford.

BEST Chief Executive Officer Dr Alan Lee said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Castle Newnham School will become the next member of our BEST family of schools and nurseries. This is hugely positive for both the school and our trust, as well as our local communities in Bedfordshire.

“When Castle Newnham officially joins, our learning community will grow to over 7,500 children and more than 1,000 staff, giving many more opportunities for us to collaborate and ‘grow the BEST in everyone’.”

BEST Chair of Trustees Ilona Bond said: “I am delighted to welcome Castle Newnham School to our trust following the Regional Director’s formal approval.

“This is wonderful news for the trust and the school and will allow both communities to get stronger together.”

Senior staff from BEST and Castle Newnham School who have formed an operational working group to enable a smooth transition for the school into the trust.

Castle Newnham Federation Principal Ruth Wilkes said: “Since we began exploring joining a trust we have always felt that the vision and values of both Castle Newnham and BEST were closely aligned. This decision will allow Castle Newnham to continue to thrive while also being part of and collaborate with a much larger community.

“We are so excited to be joining the BEST family and for our pupils and staff to be able to benefit from some of the huge advantages being part of a multi-academy trust brings.”

Castle Newnham Chair of Governors Tom Barwood said: “This is a milestone moment and we are really pleased the Regional Director has agreed with us that joining BEST is the best way forward for our school community.

“I look forward to the next stages of the formal process now taking place to enable a smooth transition for Castle Newnham into BEST.”

We are now working towards completing this comprehensive process, which includes legal work, HR consultations and operational issues, in time for Castle Newnham to officially join BEST at the start of the next academic year.